New data released to encourage exploration

18 April 2011

A deep seismic survey undertaken as part of the Australian Government's Energy Security Initiative has revealed major new geological structures in the Northern Territory which will have important implications for energy and mineral resource exploration.

The survey extended over 373 kilometres from near the Todd River 150 kilometres east of Alice Springs to just north of Amaroo in a cooperative program carried out by Geoscience Australia under its Onshore Energy Security Program in conjunction with the Northern Territory Geological Survey.

Analysis of the survey data has revealed three previously unknown faults as well as a significant seismic province. They have been named the Mount Mary Fault, the Atuckera Fault, the Atnarta Imbricate Fault Zone and the Ooratippra Seismic Province.

Geoscience Australia geologist, Dr Russell Korsch, said the discoveries will help to develop a better understanding of the geological architecture of the Northern Territory and improve the appreciation of how the Australian continent was formed.

"It will help also in developing a greater knowledge of the potential for future mineral and energy discoveries, particularly through the relationship between the newly discovered features and other geological features supporting known mineral occurrences in the Northern Territory and elsewhere in Australia," Dr Korsch said.

"This was particularly evident in the newly identified Atuckera Fault where interpretation of the survey data revealed a strong link between the feature and other known geological faults in the area," he said.

"The data from this survey and another carried out in the Tanami region in 2005, along with magnetic and gravity data, creates a strong possibility that the feature known as the Willowra suture extends over a much more significant distance than previously believed.

"The Willowra Suture has features similar to those associated with Olympic Dam mineral system in South Australia and at Cloncurry in Queensland which heightens the possibility for future discoveries," Dr Korsch said, adding that the suture may also be related to the Tennant Creek gold-copper district.

"This and the other discoveries will help to develop a better understanding of the geology of the Northern Territory and assist energy and mineral resource exploration in the region," Dr Korsch said.

Further details of the survey are available through Geoscience Australia's Seismic Acquisition and Processing Project.

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