AusGeo News  December 2012  Issue No. 108

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New data in the Petrel Sub-basin supports CO2 storage assessment

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The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, recently announced the release of new pre-competitive data acquired by Geoscience Australia as part of the Australian Government's multi-year program to assess highly prospective offshore basins for their CO2 storage potential.

Minister Ferguson said this work will make a major contribution to Australia's efforts to accelerate the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology and help to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. The recently released Energy White Paper highlights the important role that CCS technology will play in helping Australia, and its prospective coal and gas industries, to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions.

The new data, collected offshore from the Northern Territory in the Petrel Sub-basin, is a significant first step in the Australian Government's $40 million investment to assess the geological suitability of highly prospective offshore basins to potentially store CO2. This work is being undertaken under the National CO2 Infrastructure Plan (NCIP) and the National Low Emissions Coal Initiative (NLECI).

Figure 1. Showing the location of the acquisition of seismic data and supporting seabed data in the Petrel Sub-basin, beneath the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf offshore from the Northern Territory.

The Petrel Sub-basin was targeted following its identification as a prospective site for CO2 storage by the Carbon Storage Taskforce in 2009, due to its favourable geology and proximity to major emission sources.

The acquisition of 2D seismic reflection and supporting seabed data in the Petrel Sub-basin, funded through the NLECI, fills a significant information gap about the sub-basin and associated seabed environments. Importantly, these data will enable industry to make more informed decisions regarding the suitability of sites for CO2 storage, and encourage industry to potentially uptake this site.

Minister Ferguson said the data will underpin a comprehensive assessment of the CO2 storage potential of the Petrel Sub-basin. The results of this assessment, including the associated geological reports, will be available mid-2013.

In addition to the Petrel Sub-basin, CO2 storage assessments are also currently being undertaken for the Vlaming Sub-basin (offshore Western Australia), the Browse Basin (offshore Western Australia) and the Gippsland Basin (offshore Victoria).

Petrel Sub-basin CO2 Storage Seismic Survey (GA336)

Between 3 May and 24 June 2012 the MV Duke acquired high resolution multichannel seismic data in the Petrel Sub-basin. The seismic data have been processed to focus on enhancing the stratigraphy in the shallower formations that are less than 1000 metres below the seabed.

Data acquired:

Petrel Sub-basin Marine Survey (GA335)

The Petrel Sub-basin Marine Survey (GA335) was conducted in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Marine Science in May 2012 using the RV Solander. The survey targeted two study areas to investigate possible links between geological formations suitable for CO2 storage and the shallow geology and seabed.

Data acquired included 5300 line kilometres of multibeam swath bathymetry, 655 line kilometres of sub-bottom profiles, underwater video and still images from 11 sites. Seabed sediment and biological samples were collected from 15 sites. These sampling sites were identified from a preliminary analysis of the multibeam bathymetry and sub-bottom profiles, and were selected to cover a range of seabed features.

Petrel Sub-basin CO2 Data package

The data package includes high resolution 2D seismic, sub-bottom profiles, and multibeam sonar bathymetry data, as well as geological and ecological seabed data. The data package, including initial data analysis and post-survey reports, is now available through the Bonaparte CO2 Storage Project webpage on the Geoscience Australia website.

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Related articles/websites

Minister Ferguson's Media Release

Energy White Paper

Bonaparte CO2 Storage Project

Carbon Storage Taskforce

National CO2 Infrastructure Plan

National Low Emissions Coal Initiative

Marine environmental data to shed light on CO2 storage in Petrel Sub-basin

New earthquake hazard map for Australia

Image of The Earthquake Hazard map of Australia 2012.

A newly updated map depicting the level of ground shaking which regions of Australia may experience from earthquakes has been released. It provides an insight into which areas of the continent are most likely to experience hazardous levels of ground shaking during an earthquake event.

The Earthquake Hazard map of Australia 2012 is a national scale map of earthquake hazard which has been developed by scientists at Geoscience Australia following an assessment of historic and ancient, pre-historic earthquakes in Australia. The results of the assessment are presented as a map showing the bedrock peak ground motion with a 10 per cent probability of being exceeded every 50 years.

The map was released in November by the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, AM MP.

Although Australia is commonly considered to be a stable continent with few earthquakes, a total of 168 above magnitude 5.0 have been experienced since 1950, with 82 events recorded at magnitude 3.0 or above in 2011.

Figure 1. Screenshot of the Earthquake Hazard map of Australia 2012.

The Earthquake Hazard map of Australia 2012 does not enable scientists to predict earthquakes, but provides insights into where earthquakes are most likely to cause hazardous levels of ground shaking. As well as the information on the relative hazard, the map offers a nationally consistent mechanism for selecting locations for more detailed earthquake impact and risk assessments in the future.

The information produced by this study can be used to inform the earthquake loading section of the Australian building code which allows engineers to design structures to mitigate the effects of ground shaking and better protect communities. It is the strong ground shaking produced by earthquakes rather than only the magnitude of an earthquake which endangers people, buildings and infrastructure.

The underlying models and datasets used to derive the earthquake hazard map can be used by emergency managers, regional and urban planners, the insurance industry, researchers and individuals to undertake further analysis and to develop detailed impact models.

The maps can be displayed with various layers including topography, geology, gravity and magnetics, as well as land cover and Google map satellite imagery. The map and a detailed record of the processes involved in generating it can be downloaded also from the page on the Geoscience Australia website.

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Related articles/websites

Earthquake hazard map for Australia

New geophysical datasets released

Datasets from seven new geophysical surveys have been released since September 2012. These data can be downloaded from the Australian Government Geoscience Portal

Airborne Magnetic – Radiometric - Elevation Surveys

Survey Date 1:250 000 Map Sheets Line Spacing (m), terrain clearance (m), orientation Line Km Contractor
Murchison 2 (Perenjori) March 2011 – July 2012 Murgoo (pt),
Yalgoo (pt)
200 m
50 m
east – west
128 000 Thomson Aviation Pty Ltd
Carnarvon Basin South April 2012 – September 2012 Shark Bay (pt),
Wooramel (pt),
Edel (pt),
Yaringa (pt)
400 m
60 m
east – west
123 300 GPX Surveys Pty Ltd
West Kimberley (Prince Regent – Montague Sound) July 2011 – June 2012 Prince Regent, Montague Sound (pt),
Camden Sound (pt),
P Regent, Montague:
60 m
north – south.
50 m
north – south
134 000 UTS Geophysics Pty Ltd
Kauring Infill (Combination of data acquired on the Moora (UTS) and Corrigin (GPX) surveys to create coverage at 100m spacing) June 2011, March 2012 Perth (pt),
Kellerberrin (pt),
Pinjarra (pt),
Corrigin (pt)
100 m
50 m
east – west
5100 June 2011 – UTS Geophysics Pty Ltd.
March 2012 – GPX Surveys Pty Ltd
Galilee August 2011 – Aug 2012 Manuka (pt),
Tangorin (pt),
Buchanan (pt),
Winton (pt),
Muttaburra (pt),
Galilee (pt),
Longreach (pt),
Jericho (pt)
400 m
80 m
east – west
125 959 UTS Geophysics Pty Ltd
Thomson East/West/North May 2011 – September 2012 Quilpie (pt), Charleville (pt), Toompine (pt), Wyandra (pt),
Eulo (pt), Cunnamulla (pt), Adavale (pt), Augathella (pt)
400 m
80 m
east – west
299 000 Thomson Aviation Pty Ltd.
Thomson Extension June – November 2011 Augathella (pt), Eddystone (pt), Charleville (pt), Mitchell (pt). 400 m
80 m
east – west
47 777 UTS Geophysics Pty Ltd

For more information email

Related articles/websites

Australian Government Geoscience Portal

New 1:1 million scale Surface Geology of Australia

Section of the Surface Geology Map of Australia.

A new 2012 edition of the national 1:1 million scale Surface Geology of Australia dataset is now available. The data is available in ESRI geodatabase, shapefile and Mapinfo formats, and will be available as a web service in early 2013.

The 2012 edition data updates the previous 2010 data with new or revised mapping in the Northern Territory, north-west Queensland, and Western Australia (Figure 1). The new dataset also updates the stratigraphic and descriptive geological information from the previous 2010 edition, and has been restructured to now be fully compliant with international geoscience data standards.

The geology data can be viewed, queried, and downloaded along with Geoscience Australia's topographic map data through the MapConnect online mapping tool. The dataset can also be ordered on DVD from the Geoscience Australia Sales Centre.

Figure 1. Detail from the Surface Geology Map of Australia over the western part of the continent showing outcropping rocks from the Yilgarn, Pilbara and Musgrave Provinces.

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Related articles/websites


Geoscience Australia Sales Centre

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