South Nicholson Basin

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A gravity map showing the completed seismic lines over the South Nicholson Basin region across the Northern Territory and Queensland border.

A major data acquisition program for the Exploring for the Future program has been undertaken in the South Nicholson Basin region.

In early August 2017, Geoscience Australia acquired deep crustal seismic reflection data in the region between the southern McArthur Basin and the Mt Isa western succession, crossing the South Nicholson Basin and Murphy Province. Previously there was no seismic data and minimal well data for the region, which is approximately the size of Tasmania. The collected data now dramatically increase our geological understanding of this highly prospective region.

The objective of this project was to explore exposed and undercover sedimentary basins and structures to better understand the location and scale of potential energy resources. This data will also support mineral exploration through the improved understanding of the region's geological evolution and identification of geological terrains with greater mineral potential. Initial field stack data are of excellent quality and image a variety of previously unknown features.


Map comparing the new versus old outline of the South Nicholson Basin

New data acquisition

2017 field season:

  • Five seismic lines, totalling 1100 line kilometres, with two of the seismic lines to the east linking with existing deep crustal seismic data in the Mt Isa western succession.


The South Nicholson project was undertaken collaboratively with the Northern Territory Geological Survey, the Geological Survey of Queensland and AusScope, providing in-kind and financial contributions.

Related information

Vibroseis trucksVibroseis trucks alongside the Barkly Highway, Queensland, working on the South Nicholson Basin seismic line