AusArray

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A map showing the locations of 135 broadband seismic stations, arranged in a grid pattern, spaced ~55 km apart across northern Australia.

The Australian Passive Seismic Array Project (AusArray) is a collaborative, national survey between government and academia that acquires seismic velocity data. The movable array of 135 broadband seismic stations, arranged in a grid pattern, spaced ~55 km apart, and complemented by fifteen semi-permanent higher sensitivity broadband seismic stations. These stations measure small natural vibrations that travel through the Earth caused by local and distant earthquakes, waves breaking on the shore and even wind. This data helps scientists to understand the velocity distribution and based on that the composition of rocks beneath the ground. The aim is to create a three-dimensional model of the subsurface velocity variations. These models are used to constrain local and regional Earth structure useful for the assessment of resource potential and natural hazards.

Key outcomes:

  • Improved national three-dimensional velocity models of the Australian plate focused on northern Australia.
  • Higher resolution three-dimensional seismic models in areas covered by the transportable array from which physical properties of the lithosphere can be inferred from depths of a few metres to hundreds of kilometres.

Progress

Capital acquisition of 150 broadband seismometers was completed in 2017. The first yearlong array of 120 seismometers was installed in 2017 across the Queensland and Northern Territory boarder. Fifteen higher sensitivity stations are due to be deployed mid-2018 to supplement the national network.

An image of a seismometer site in Queensland

Outputs

Release of the Australian plate velocity model focused on northern Australia is expected early in 2019.

The first public release of transportable array data is expected by end 2019.

Collaborations

AusArray is a collaborative project initiated by academia with supported from ANSIR and AuScope. The Exploring for the Future AusArray project is led and funded by Geoscience Australia in collaboration with State and Northern Territory geological surveys, universities, and other research organisations. Legacy AusArray data has been kindly supplied to Geoscience Australia by researchers through the repository of legacy academia AusArray data housed by the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University