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  • Sub-glacial geothermal heat flow is acknowledged to be a critical, yet poorly constrained, boundary parameter influencing ice sheet behaviour (Winsborrow et al 2010). Geothermal heat flow is the sum of residual heat from the formation of the Earth and the natural heat generated within the Earth from the radiogenic decay of the major heat producing elements (HPEs), U, Th and K. Estimates of the sub-glacial geothermal heat flow in Antarctica are largely deduced from remotely-sensed low-resolution datasets such as seismic tomography or satellite-based geomagnetics. These methods provide broad regional estimates of geothermal heat flow reflecting variations in the mantle contribution as a function of thickness of a thermally homogeneous crust. These estimates of sub-glacial geothermal heat flow, although widely utilised in ice sheet modelling studies, fail to account for lateral and vertical heterogeneity of heat production within the crust where HPEs are concentrated and that are known to significantly impact regional geothermal heat flow values. Significant variations in regional geothermal heat flow due to heterogeneous crustal distribution of HPEs have been recognised within southern Australia (e.g. McLaren et al., 2006), a region that was connected to east Antarctica along the George V, Adélie and Wilkes Lands coastline prior to breakup of Gondwana. The South Australian Heat Flow Anomaly (SAHFA; e.g. Neumann et al., 2000) is characterized by surface heat flows as high as 126 mWm-2, some '2-3 times' that of typical continental values, due to local enrichment of HPEs. The SAHFA forms part of a once contiguous continental block called the Mawson Continent, a now dismembered crustal block that is known, from geological and geophysical evidence, to extend deep into the sub-glacial interior of the Antarctic. It is highly probable that the high geothermal heat flow characteristics of the SAHFA also extend into the sub-glacial hinterland of Terra Adélie and George V lands, a possibility that has not been previously considered in ice sheet studies. In order to account for the occurrence of several sub-glacial lakes in Adélie Land, Siegert & Dowdeswell (1996) concluded that 'a further 25-50 mWm-2 of equivalent geothermal heat' was required over the assumed local geothermal heat flow of ca. 54 mWm-2. Although that study concluded that the additional heat required for basal melting was derived from internal ice deformation, they also acknowledged the possible role of variations in geothermal heat flow, and now that the SAHFA is well characterised, this is a possibility that appears very likely.

  • Imagine you are an incident controller viewing a computer screen which depicts the likely spread of a bushfire that's just started. The display shows houses and other structures in the fire's path, and even the demographics of the people living in the area - such as the number of people, their age spread, whether the household has independent transport, and whether English is their second language. In addition, imagine that you can quantify and display the uncertainty in both the fire weather and also the type and state of the vegetation, enabling the delivery of a range of simulations relating to the expected fire spread and impact. You will be able to addresses the 'what if' scenarios as the event unfolds and reject those scenarios that are no longer plausible. The advantages of such a simulation system in making speedy, well-informed decisions has been considered by a group of Bushfire CRC researchers who have collaborated to produce a 'proof of concept' system initially for use in addressing 3 case studies. The system has the working name FireDST (Fire Impact and Risk Evaluation Decision Support Tool). FireDST links various databases and models, including the Phoenix RapidFire fire prediction model and building vulnerability assessment model (radiant heat and ember attack), as well as infrastructure and demographic databases. The information is assembled into an integrated simulation framework through a geographical information system (GIS) interface. Pre-processed information, such as factors that determine the local and regional wind, and also the typical response of buildings to fire, are linked with the buildings through a database, along with census-derived social and economic information. This presentation provides an overview of the FireDST simulation 'proof of concept' tool and walks through a sample probabilistic simulation constructed using the tool.

  • Floodplain vegetation can be degraded from both too much and too little water due to regulation. Over-regulation and increased use of groundwater in these landscapes can exacerbate the effects related to natural climate variability. Prolonged flooding of woody plants has been found to induce a number of physiological disturbances such as early stomatal closure and inhibition of photosynthesis. However drought conditions can also result in leaf biomass reduction and sapwood area decline. Depending on the species, different inundation and drought tolerances are observed. This paper focuses specifically on differing lake level management practices in order to assess associated environmental impacts. In western NSW, two Eucalyptus species, River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis) and Black Box (E. largiflorens) have well documented tolerances and both are located on the fringes of lakes in the Menindee Lakes Storage Water scheme. Flows to these lakes have been controlled since 1960 and lake levels monitored since 1979. Pre-regulation aerial photos indicate a significant change to the distribution of lake-floor and fringing vegetation in response to increased inundation frequency and duration. In addition, by coupling historic lake water-level data with a Landsat satellite imagery, spatial and temporal vegetation response to different water regimes has been observed. Two flood events specifically investigated are the 2010/11 and 1990 floods. Results from this analysis provide historic examples of vegetation response to lake regulation including whether recorded inundation duration and frequency resulted in positive or negative impacts, the time delay till affects become evident, duration of observed response and general recovery/reversal times. These findings can be used to inform ongoing water management decisions.

  • In 1994, the United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific resolved to establish a Permanent Committee comprising of national surveying and mapping agencies to address the concept of establishing a common geographic information infrastructure for the region. This resolution subsequently led to the establishment of the Permanent Committee for GIS Infrastructure for the Asia and Pacific (PCGIAP). One of the goals of the PCGIAP was to establish and maintain a precise understanding of the relationship between permanent geodetic stations across the region. To this end, campaign-style geodetic-GPS observations, coordinated by Geoscience Australia, have been undertaken throughout the region since 1997. In this presentation, we discuss the development of an Asia Pacific regional reference frame based on the PCGIAP GPS campaign data, which now includes data from 417 non-IGS GPS stations and provides long term crustal deformation estimates for over 200 GPS stations throughout the region. We overview and evaluate: our combination strategy with particular emphasis on the alignment of the solution onto the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF); the sensitivity of the solution to reference frame site selection; the treatment of regional co-seismic and post-seismic deformation; and the Asia-Pacific contribution to the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) Working Group on "Regional Dense Velocity Fields". The level of consistency of the coordinate estimates with respect to ITRF2005 is 6, 5, 15 mm, in the east, north and up components, respectively, while the velocity estimates are consistent at 2, 2, 6 mm/yr in the east, north and up components, respectively.

  • Monitoring changes in the spatial distribution and health of biotic habitats requires spatially extensive surveys repeated through time. Although a number of habitat distribution mapping methods have been successful in clear, shallow-water coastal environments (e.g. aerial photography and Landsat imagery) and deeper (e.g. multibeam and sidescan sonar) marine environments, these methods fail in highly turbid and shallow environments such as many estuarine ecosystems. To map, model and predict key biotic habitats (seagrasses, green and red macroalgae, polychaete mounds [Ficopamatus enigmaticus] and mussel clumps [Mytilus edulis]) across a range of open and closed estuarine systems on the south-west coast of Western Australia, we integrated post-processed underwater video data with interpolated physical and spatial variables using Random Forest models. Predictive models and associated standard deviation maps were developed from fine-scale habitat cover data. Models performed well for spatial predictions of benthic habitats, with 79-90% of variation explained by depth, latitude, longitude and water quality parameters. The results of this study refine existing baseline maps of estuarine habitats and highlight the importance of biophysical processes driving plant and invertebrate species distribution within estuarine ecosystems. This study also shows that machine-learning techniques, now commonly used in terrestrial systems, also have important applications in coastal marine ecosystems. When applied to video data, these techniques provide a valuable approach to mapping and managing ecosystems that are too turbid for optical methods or too shallow for acoustic methods.

  • This presentation will provide an overview of some of the work currently being undertaken at Geoscience Australia GA) as part of the National Coastal Vulnerability Assessment (NCVA), funded by the Department of Climate Change (DCC). The presentation will summarise the methodology applied, and highlight the issues, including the limitations and data gaps.

  • A detailed study to estimate magnetic bottom depths under north Queensland has been made using the continent-wide high-resolution airborne total magnetic intensity (TMI) data of Australia (a source dataset for the World Digital Magnetic Anomaly Map, WDMAM). Magnetisation of the lithosphere is generally assumed not significant below the Moho crust/mantle boundary due to compositional changes. However, in regions of high temperatures in the lower crust, this bottom-depth of magnetisation may be significantly above the Moho depths due to temperatures in excess of the Curie-point isotherm of the dominant magnetic mineralogy. This study uses modelling of the azimuthally averaged log of the power spectrum of TMI data to determine bottom depths. Two methods are considered and compared: slope-fitting and automated fitting of full spectral data. Several issues in successfully using these methods have been addressed, such as magnetisation type, size of data window, location of spectral peak, sensitivities of the spectral parameters and the choice of optimisation algorithm. The TMI data have an initial grid resolution of 80 m, with an appropriate IGRF removed. These data are reduced to the pole, upward continued 1 km, sub-sampled to a 1 km grid spacing and a first order polynominal trend removed prior to the spectral analysis. Calculated magnetic bottom depths are compared both with published data on the depth to Moho and with other model interpretations of the area including heat flow modelling.

  • North Queensland Geodynamic and Mineral System Synthesis

  • DRAFT Australia's Resources Supporting Economic Growth in the Nation and the Region Paul J Kay Geoscience Australia A new book on Australia's geology viewed through the lens of human activity has been prepared by Geoscience Australia for the 34th International Geological Congress (IGC). Geological factors influencing the nation's recent economic development make up one chapter of the IGC book. Australia's long geological history, fringing passive margins, limited recent deformation and overall landscape stability has formed and preserved a vast quantity of high quality bulk commodity resources. The nation's educated workforce, system of government and legal framework has provided a sound, stable foundation allowing the geological legacy to be utilised through a large export industry for societal and national benefit. The bulk resources of coal, iron, aluminium and liquefied natural gas (LNG) account for more than 50 percent of Australia's export earnings, sustaining the nation's economic success and the lifestyle of the Australian people. Mining has been a cornerstone of the Australian economy since the 19th century gold rushes and importance the resources sector has increased markedly since the mid 20th century, largely a consequence of accelerating export income from the bulk commodities. The industrialisation of Asia has provided the demand, driving infrastructure investment in remote regions of Australia. Advances in technology combined with massive economies of scale and sound public policy have enabled access to the resource and helped to satiate the growing regional market. Responding to changes in the existing status quo, be they trade or societal, will require ongoing interactions between the geosciences and other disciplines to maintain and improve Australia's standard of living.