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Seismic survey to uncover the Canning Basin’s deep geology

An important high-tech seismic reflection survey is set to reveal the deep geology of the Kidson Sub-basin, a remote south-east portion of the Canning Basin.

The project, which started on the weekend (Sunday, June 17), is co-funded by the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) and involves a 900 kilometre survey along the road connecting Kiwirrkurra in the east and Marble Bar in the Pilbara, one of the least geologically understood regions in Australia.

Three large, specialised Vibroseis trucks generate seismic reflection waves down through the ground, which reflect back from geological strata that mark changes in rock type.

As the survey progresses, an image is built up showing a vertical slice through the Earth’s crust. This data will help identify regional faults, folds, salt movement and other structural elements.

The survey will take 10 to 12 weeks, depending on weather conditions, and will run through June to August 2018. Safety signs and potential speed restrictions may be put in place over stretches of the survey road during this period.

The Kidson Sub-basin research is a collaboration between the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and Geoscience Australia (GA), a division of the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said this is an important collaborative research project, as seismic surveys of this kind and size provide valuable scientific data and play an important role in understanding the State’s geological history.

“The research will increase our understanding of the Earth’s basic structure to a depth of about 40km, improve exploration efficiency over a much broader area, and potentially support more job opportunities in this remote region. This major project is only possible from the combined funding of the State’s EIS and the Commonwealth’s Exploring for the Future program, which is managed by GA.”

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