Surat and Galilee basins

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Map of the Surat-Galilee Project area showing location of newly acquired airborne geophysical data.

This project is focused on the Surat and Galilee geological basins in Queensland. High-resolution seismic reflection data suggests Neogene faults present in both basins, and that these may compartmentalise the groundwater systems and provide potential pathways for inter-aquifer leakage. However, given the high costs of high-resolution seismic reflection data collection, this project aims to assess the potential for alternative, cost-effective direct and surrogate mapping approaches to map Neogene faults and provide important new insights into aquifer hydrodynamics and structural compartmentalisation of sedimentary basins.

Methods being assessed include airborne electromagnetic (AEM) and geomorphic/morphotectonic mapping and analysis techniques. The project will also assess the potential for far-field seismicity effects on aquifer hydrodynamics to determine structural compartmentalisation of sedimentary basins.

The main objectives of the project are to:

  • Assess the suitability of AEM for detecting near-surface (<100-200 m) Neogene faults in a range of landscape/geological settings in the Surat and Galilee basins;
  • Develop and assess morphotectonic¬† mapping and analysis methods for identifying Neogene faults and fault zones;
  • Examine use of earthquake databases and hydrograph responses to inform active tectonic and geomechanical analysis including basin compartmentalisation; and
  • Refine conceptualisation of groundwater dynamics in the Galilee Basin.


The Project will deliver new data and products including:

  • Airborne electromagnetic (AEM) and magnetic;
  • Geomorphic, geologic, hydrogeologic and hydrostratigraphic maps;
  • Digital Elevation Model;
  • Hydrograph-seismicity analysis and plots; and
  • A technical report describing active tectonic and geomechanics, revised geomorphology including landscape and basin evolution, fault-zone hydrogeological characterisation including structural controls on basin architecture and groundwater flow, and updated hydrogeological conceptual models.

New data acquisition

In 2017 the project collected:

  • 4,477 line-kilometre airborne electromagnetic survey.

The project will carry out a number of data collection activities in 2018 including:

  • Soil/regolith sampling; and
  • Landscape mapping.