New formations revealed in seismic survey

07 April 2011

The Australian Government has released to the mining and exploration industry new pre-competitive data collected from the most extensive single survey of its kind in Australia.

The survey commenced in May 2010, and collected pre-competitive airborne electromagnetic (AEM) data over 32,300 line-kilometres covering 95,450 square kilometres in South Australia's outback

The area covers almost ten percent of South Australia's total area - that's around half the size of Victoria - from the Frome Embayment to the northern Murray Basin, east and north of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

The Frome region is considered to have a high potential for uranium. Major uranium deposits have already been identified in the survey area at Beverley, Honeymoon and Four Mile.

The $2.67 million survey was a collaborative project involving Geoscience Australia, the South Australian Government through Primary Industries and Resources South Australia and a consortium of exploration industry representatives. It included nearly 5,000 line-kilometres of infill flying by Primary Industries and Resources South Australia and the exploration industry.

It is a major component of Geoscience Australia's Onshore Energy Security Program which is designed to reduce risk in exploration and support development of Australia's onshore energy resources.

Although governments have provided pre-competitive gravity and aeromagnetic data to the mining industry for many years, the Frome survey is only the third regional-scale AEM survey flown by an Australian Government agency to encourage mineral exploration.

The Frome survey demonstrates the effectiveness of airborne electromagnetic data for exploration by mapping subsurface geology. This type of data reveals the geology beneath the surface and is useful in highlighting potential areas for further mineral exploration. The survey datasets will also help to improve understanding of the groundwater resources in the area.

AEM surveys involve transmitting an electromagnetic signal from a wire loop attached to an aeroplane or helicopter. The signal induces electric currents in the ground which are detected by receiver coils towed behind the aircraft. Depending on the system used and the subsurface conditions, AEM can detect variations in the electrical conductivity of the ground to a depth of around 300 metres. This allows the identification of a range of geological features which can indicate the presence of certain minerals.

The Frome Embayment TEMPEST AEM Survey, South Australia, 2010 Final Data (P1231) is available for free download, or on DVD-ROM from Geosciencce Australia's Sales Centre.

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013