Continued supply of minerals, energy and water resources are essential to maintain and improve quality of life while at the same time ensuring economic prosperity. Development of and exploration for these resources on the Earth's surface is well established but finite. Opportunities to secure new supplies of these resources lie in the subsurface. The Exploring for the Future (EFTF) program is unlocking this search space across Australia through the acquisition, analysis and integration of an unprecedented diversity of geoscience datasets.
The EFTF Extended Abstracts volume summarises the key scientific achievements of the EFTF program from 2016 to 2020 under three interrelated themes. Developments outlined in the toolbox theme enable the characterisations of lithospheric architecture, which in turn enables systems based assessment of resource potential. The toolbox outlines advances in data acquisition, processing, curating and interpretation. The lithospheric architecture theme summarises advances in characterising the Australian surface, then basins (or aquifers or cover), the crust and last the mantle. Systems analysis is specifically focused on groundwater, energy and mineral resource assessments.
A summary of the purpose, scientific achievements, outcomes and legacy of the Exploring for the Future program.
Advancements in data acquisition, processing, curating and interpretation underpin insights presented in the other themes.
Transformation of available and new datasets which image and sample the Earth's surface provide valuable insights into landscape processes, subsurface geology and resource distribution.
Sedimentary basins conceal or are themselves important sources of groundwater, hydrocarbons and mineral resources. Insights into basin geometry, stratigraphy and composition are essential for resource assessment.
Variations in crustal composition, beneath sedimentary basins, are important first order controls on the distribution of energy and mineral resources. Geochemical and geophysical characterisation is a powerful exploration tool.
The lithospheric mantle is the lowest and volumetrically most significant portion of tectonic plates. Only recently the architecture of this layer has been recognised as a first order control on surface processes and the distribution of resources.
Water can have complex pathways through underground aquifers. Mapping these aquifers and understanding how much water is flowing to and from the surface provides an evidence base for sustainable use of this resource.
Generation, migration and accumulation of oil and gas resources is a function of a region's geological history. Mapping the size, and scope of this process helps to identify regions with potential for new resource discovery.
The formation of mineral deposits in the crust and basins is the focus of ongoing research. Translating insights from this research into mappable criteria allows new areas with the potential to host undiscovered ore deposits to be identified.