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South Australian precompetitive geophysical data on the international stage - enter the Frank Arnott Award collaborative challenge using geophysical data collected from the Gawler Craton.

Undertake the Frank Arnott Award collaborative challenge using geophysical data collected from South Australia's Gawler Craton

  • Open to the exploration industry and academia
  • Individuals or team collaboration
  • Apprentice (under-graduates and graduates with less than 5 years industry experience) and experienced (post-grads with more than 5 years industry experience) categories
  • Registration due by 8 December 2016
  • Submissions due not later than 31 March 2017
  • Awards announced at Exploration 17 (21-25 October 2017, Ontario, Canada)

More about the award and conditions of entry

The South Australian Government's Department of State Development continues to encourage mineral exploration and stimulate mining in the state through making precompetitive geophysical data available for interpretation, thereby boosting exploration opportunities and the ongoing search for mineral ore deposits.

The Department of State Development, through the Geological Survey of South Australia, is providing a geophysical data set for the Frank Arnott Award collaborative challenge, established to promote innovation in exploration geoscience, specifically in the areas of data integration and visualisation.

The award is named after Frank Arnott (1951-2009), an exceptional visionary who developed innovative approaches in bringing together multidisciplinary data sets that underpin exploration decision making.

South Australian dataset – Gawler Craton

The Gawler Craton in South Australia hosts:

  • the world’s most richly endowed iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) ore province
  • the Olympic IOCG Province, containing the supergiant Olympic Dam copper-gold-uranium-silver deposit
  • the major Prominent Hill, Carrapateena and Wirrda Well IOCG deposits.

Much of the craton is covered by Neoproterozic sedimentary rocks, meaning that geophysical techniques play a critical role in defining geology and deposit detection.

As part of a state and federal initiative, the Woomera Prohibited Area, a military test range which lies adjacent to Olympic Dam and covers several other IOCG deposits, has been the focus of a major geoscience program to assist industry to continue to explore and discover new deposits in what is deemed to be high priority terrain.

These data sets form the core materials for this project site.

Geophysical data

The following are included in the geophysical data set:

  • gravity, airborne magnetics, radiometrics, magnetotelluric and seismic surveys
  • numerous derived products and interpretation from the above surveys, including the Gawler Craton (Woomera Prohibited Area) gravity survey and the Woomera Prohibited Area Atlas, a full package of multi-parameter spatial data covering the Woomera Prohibited Area and immediate surrounds
  • remote sensing data (ASTER) with derived products

More about the geophysical data available from the Geological Survey of South Australia

Geological summary

The Olympic IOCG (iron oxide copper-gold) Province occurs along the eastern margin of the Gawler Craton nucleus where oxidised, A-type granitoid plutons of the 1595 to 1575 Ma Hiltaba Suite were emplaced into an accreted Paleoproterozoic terrane, and where mafic volcanic rocks of the lower Gawler Range Volcanics are most abundant.

This magmatism comprises the central part of a diachronous corridor of bimodal I-, A-and subordinate S-type intrusions that extends across the Gawler and Curnamona Cratons, and was emplaced in a distal continental retro-arc setting during amalgamation of the North and South Australia cratons.

IOCG mineralisation mostly formed during a short lived episode of N-NW-S-SE extension that approximately coincided with eruption of the Gawler Range Volcanics (ca. 1595 to 1590 Ma), but was preceded and followed by more protracted N-SE to N-NW-S-SE contraction. The deposits were emplaced along E-NE to NE trending extensional faults near their intersections with major N-NW to NW trending faults in the hanging wall of first-order terrane boundary faults, such as the Elizabeth Creek and Pine Point Fault Zones.

More about the geology of the Gawler Craton