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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 project started in 2016 through the Exploring for the Future Program and continues through the support of the State and Territory Geological Surveys and academia.

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 project aims to create a three-dimensional model of the subsurface velocity variations into the future. These models constrain local and regional Earth structure useful for the assessment of resource potential and natural hazards.

Key outcomes in the Northern Australia region between Tennent Creek and Mt Isa:

  • 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.

To run the Array 150 broadband seismometers are deployed for between 10 months and 2 years. Twelve higher sensitivity stations are deployed to supplement the national network and run continuously.

An image of a seismometer site in Queensland.


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.


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, particularly ANU, Maquarie University and University of Tasmania 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.