Airborne gravity survey to help understanding of Kimberley geology

Survey data to identify important geological elements of region
Date: Thursday, 03 May 2018

A new series of airborne gravity surveys in Western Australia will help geoscientists gain a better understanding of the structure and evolution of the earth’s crust.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) and Geoscience Australia (GA) are collaborating on the project, which is part of a range of geoscientific projects the department is conducting throughout Western Australia.

Airborne gravity survey

The surveys will cover an area of 430,000 km2, almost one sixth the area of Western Australia and will include parts of the Kimberley, and the Little Sandy and Great Victoria deserts. Airborne surveys of this type and configuration provide data efficiently with no disturbance to people or disruption to activities in the region.

The department has contracted Sander Geophysics Limited (SGL) to conduct the surveys with its AIRGrav system, a very sensitive gravity meter SGL developed specifically for airborne operations.  AIRGrav is mounted in a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft, which flies at a height of 160m along lines 2.5 km apart.

Geoscience and Resource Strategy Director, Dr Ian Tyler said the surveys extend the ground and airborne gravity mapping the department has carried out since 2009 under the Exploration Incentive Scheme.

“When we complete the current work in early 2019, the data from these ‘second-generation’ surveys will cover almost 90 per cent of the State at 16 times the resolution of the first-generation continental coverage from 45 years ago,” Dr Tyler said.

The data the project generates will be publicly available on the DMIRS and GA websites at no cost.

If you have questions about the general nature and objectives of these or other regional geophysical surveys, please email, or call GA on 1800 091 964 (free call).

Further information about the department’s geoscientific projects is available at

Further information about GA projects is available at