Rocks attract interest in Temora

31 May 2011

Lord Howe Rise

Visiting the TEMORA zircon site
(L-R) Keith Sircombe, Bill Hibberson,
Lance Black, Chris Lewis, Christina Talavera,
Emma Chisholm, and Liu Dun Yi.
© Temora Independent

The popularity of Temora in central New South Wales as a destination for visitors is not limited to the town's Aviation Museum, but also includes a more earthly attraction - a rock outcrop.

The rocks, which are in a paddock on a farm outside Temora, contain tiny zircon crystals, an element vitally important to geochronology.

The crystals are the TEMORA zircon reference which is considered to be among the finest in the world for deriving the age of rocks. It is used by dating laboratories around the world, including in Geoscience Australia's Sensitive High Resolution Ion MicroProbe, or SHRIMP .

Among those using Temora zircon is the Beijing SHRIMP Center in the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences and its Director, Professor Dunyi Liu, took the opportunity while in Australia to visit the site of the prized zircons with staff from Geoscience Australia and the Australian National University.

Professor Liu is leading a team undertaking analytical work at the Australian National University prior to the delivery of a second SHRIMP to the Beijing laboratory, acquired from the Canberra-based manufacturer Australian Scientific Instruments.

The Beijing SHRIMP Center analyses several hundred rock samples each year and has finalised a Memorandum of Understanding with Geoscience Australia to ship 200 kilograms of raw Temora rock to Beijing Academy of Geological Sciences in September.

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013