Mt Isa region expands to a third dimension

23 June 2006

Geoscience Australia scientists working under the auspices of the Predictive Mineral Discovery Cooperative Research Centre (pmd*CRC) have provided a fresh insight into the geology and potential for new mineral discoveries in the Mount Isa Western Succession.

A collaborative project involving researchers from Geoscience Australia, universities, industry and other government agencies has significantly improved the scientific understanding of the three dimensional seismic architecture and mineral systems of the Mount Isa area.

The investigations also allowed the researchers to better understand the geological and tectonic processes which control and influence basin geometry in the region.

CEO of Geoscience Australia, Dr Neil Williams, said the researchers had spent the past three years developing a 3D model of part of the Mount Isa Western Succession which incorporated all elements of the mineralising system.

"The study also used data from the Terra satellite to map mineralogy on a regional scale with sufficient spatial and spectral detail to be useful for mineral exploration," Dr Williams said.

"The resulting 3D structural model incorporates stratigraphy, major unconformity surfaces, fault geometries and basin shape as well as mineral deposit locations, and will provide a new focus for future mineral exploration," he said.

Dr Williams said the research was particularly important to future mining because the original basin architecture was no longer obvious, creating ongoing uncertainty about the age of mineralization and its relationship to major structures.

"Bringing all elements of the mineralising system together in a single 3D representation permits better visualisation and a more precise test bed for subsurface geological interpretation than was ever possible from traditional 2D geological maps and cross sections," Dr Williams said.

"Successful exploration demands a more integrated approach and understanding of the entire mineralising system. The 3D imagery developed by all those involved in the Mount Isa research will go a long way towards achieving this objective," Dr Williams said.

Read more on Expanding our knowledge of Mt Isa to a third dimension in AusGeo News.

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