Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore
Seismic Survey Set To Unlock Secrets Of WA’s Crust
Victor P Taffa
The Western Australia State Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme, part of the Royalties for Regions program, is funding 50 % of a new survey to improve understanding of the valuable resources buried in North-West Western Australia’s crust.
The Capricorn Deep Crustal Seismic Reflection Survey has already started in the Hamersley Ranges near Tom Price.
The survey will investigate the crust’s structure from the Hamersley Ranges, through the Gascoyne and into the Mid-West, passing through WA’s rich iron ore, copper-lead and gold regions.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said understanding the earth’s crust was crucial to the resource exploration industry because the data could identify potential commercial ore bodies or petroleum deposits.
“This invaluable geological data will also link the two oldest pieces of crust in Australia (the Pilbara and Yilgarn cratons), and provide clues on how plate tectonic processes moved continents around earth’s surface more than two billion years ago.” the Minister said.
“It will test the theory that cratons were parts of two ancient continents separated by ocean and brought together by continental collisions.”
The Department of Mines and Petroleum’s Geological Survey of Western Australia and the Earth Imaging and Structure component of AuScope, the Federal Government’s national earth sciences infrastructure program, are carrying out the survey.
The survey is one of a series under way across Australia as part of the National GeoTransect Program, which aims to construct a three-dimensional image of the Australian plate and gain data on its evolution.
Seismic data is generated by vibrating the ground using three large vibrator trucks.
Seismic waves travel down through the earth and are reflected from surfaces and fault structures that mark changes in rock type. The reflections are recorded and interpreted to construct an image of a vertical slice through the crust.