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June 2003

1 July 2003

Tanami airborne geophysical data release (phase 2)

Professionals working in the mineral exploration industry and geology mapping will be interested in the release of airborne geophysical data over the west Tanami region of Western Australia. Since the mid 1980s, over ten million ounces of gold have been discovered in this region which straddles the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The Tanami region is one of the most exciting new gold provinces in Australia.

TMI image of the west Tanami region with northeast illumination

Jointly released by Geoscience Australia and the Geological Survey of Western Australia on 1 July 2003, the Phase 2 airborne geophysical data over the west Tanami region covers the Billiluna 1:250 000 Map Sheet area and parts of the Gordon Downs and Lucas 1:250 000 Map Sheet areas.

Three band radiometric image of the West Tanami region

This release includes additional data to that released in February 2003. It comprises magnetic, gamma-ray and elevation point located data and grids from a survey flown for the Geological Survey of Western Australia and Geoscience Australia by UTS Geophysics in 2002, and from three private company surveys flown between 1989 and 1995. The older surveys have been appended and levelled with the new survey to create a combined dataset giving a continuous coverage.

The data is available in digital form on three CDs and as hardcopy TMI and ternary radiometric images.

19 June 2003

World class geodesy

Geodesy is the study of the Earth's shape, the measurement of the position and motion of points on the Earth's surface, and the distribution and area of large portions of the earth's surface.

Geoscience Australia's Space Geodesy Analysis Group has received accreditation for its accurate GPS positioning capabilities from the National Association of Testing Authorities Australia (NATA), Australia's Government-endorsed provider of accreditation for laboratories and similar testing facilities.

Man operating a GPS receiver in the field

Geodesy supports many professional, economic and scientific activities and functions, ranging from land titling to mineral exploration; from navigation, mapping and surveying to the use of remote sensing data for resource management; from the construction of dams and drains, to the interpretation of seismic disturbances.

With the increasing use of GPS in surveying, for example in positioning of property boundaries in cadastral surveying, there is a clear need for standards in positioning.

The NATA report stated that "The facility is staffed by very professional and experienced staff who run a world-class geodesy service."

NATA also noted that the QA system was of a high standard and very well integrated.

For more information on the Geodesy accreditation, please contact Geodesy

11 June 2003

Marine expedition discovers enormous coral reef

A 100 sq km living coral reef is amongst the discoveries made by a team of marine explorers from Geoscience Australia during a month long voyage around the Gulf of Carpentaria. Ancient underwater sandstorms and previously unknown reefs were also discovered.

Click to see larger image of Landsat 7 satellite image of the Gulf of Carpentaria (from the Y2000 Mosaic) showing suspended sediment "Geoscience Australia's discoveries will be of significant importance to environmental and marine resource managers," said David Tollner, Federal Member for the NT electorate of Solomon, who welcomed the team on their return to Darwin on 10 June. "The Gulf of Carpentaria is an important marine region and falls within the scope of plans for Australia's next regional marine resource management area."

Originally the expedition planned to find out about sediment movement from rivers into the Gulf and how they move into deeper waters.

"But they discovered much of the sediment seen moving in the Gulf, from satellite images, was in fact ancient sands and silts, rather than new sediments from nearby river systems," said Mr Tollner.

Dr Peter Harris, expedition chief scientist from Geoscience Australia said the movements of the ancient sediments were much like underwater sandstorms.

"The Gulf is three times bigger than Tasmania and extremely flat, with only 80m from the top of the highest island to the bottom of the deepest seafloor," he said.

"The 100 sq km living reef supports a thriving array of sea-life including soft sponges, corals and shellfish. The reef looks like a lost city, with flat top and sheer sides on our echo-sounder."

"Based on our studies, we expect the reefs are far more widespread in the Gulf than had previously been suspected. It seems as though they have existed in the Gulf at different times over the last 100,000 years."

6 June 2003

The search stops here

On the right is Dr Bill McKay, Mineral Resources and Advice, Geoscience Australia, with Parliamentary Secretary, Warren Entsch at the launch Information about Australia's minerals industry is now open to the world with the launch of the online National Mines Atlas at the Mineral Council of Australia's Industry Seminar in Canberra on 3 June 2003.

"The Atlas is a product of the industry's world class innovation and technology. It provides an online public 'window' to information about Australian minerals resources and spatial data on mines and processing centres," said Warren Entsch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources.

"The best in information as well as IT, scientific and industry skills and information were brought together in Geoscience Australia for the Atlas website, making it a great example of innovation in the provision of advice and services." Andrew McMahon, Mineral Resources and Advice, Geoscience Australia, with Parliamentary Secretary, Warren Entsch at the launch

"For anyone going online looking for Australian minerals industry information, your search stops here at

Minerals Council of Australia Chief Executive, Mr Mitch Hooke said the Atlas provides a comprehensive portal to the Australian minerals industry, highlighting its rich geological assets, its global position as a strategic location for minerals operations, as well as the industry's substantial contribution to Australia's economy and rural and remote communities.

The National Atlas of Mineral Resources, Mines and Processing Centres is a joint initiative of Geoscience Australia, the Regional Minerals Program administered by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, and the Minerals Council of Australia.

Mr Entsch said the Atlas goes beyond the conventional understanding of a resources map, covering more than seven million square kilometres:

  • with spatial information and cutting-edge technical capability, it provides search, query and online map-making for mines and mineral deposits;
  • a mosaic of detailed satellite scenes for most of Australia; and
  • the ability to link mines, processing facilities and ports in Atlas maps to other websites.

"It will help to maintain and promote mineral exploration and development, and provide fact sheets for educational, public and industry use. And because the Atlas' information bases are dynamic, it will always be up-to-date."

4 June 2003
Location of Harris Greenstone Belt in South Australia

New online GIS highlights nickel potential

A new interactive GIS, released by Geoscience Australia in association with Primary Industries and Resources South Australia, highlights significant potential for nickel, copper and cobalt in the Harris Greenstone Belt, central Gawler Craton of South Australia.

The GIS highlights the extensive distribution (300 km strike extent) of poorly exposed Archaean komatiites (about 2 500 million years old) and associated rocks with potential for nickel, copper, platinum group elements and lode-gold mineralising systems.

Layers included in the new GIS are: interpreted Precambrian basement geology, which is based on aeromagnetic, gravity, and diamond drilling data; mines and mineral prospects, with information extracted from the MINLOC database; drill holes; cultural features; and various high-resolution total magnetic intensity, bouguer gravity, Landsat Thematic Mapper, airborne electromagnetic, and digital elevation model images.

You can download a map of the Harris Greenstone Belt and the digital data for the new online GIS from the Gawler Mineral Promotion: Maps and Online GIS page. This page also contains links to other Gawler Craton maps and online GIS's.

To purchase hard-copy and digital products from the Gawler Project, please contact: Geoscience Australia Sales Centre.


Updated: 03 09 2009