GSWA embarks on a new airborne gravity survey in the Pilbara

New GSWA airborne gravity survey in the Pilbara
Date: Monday, 06 May 2019

The Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) has begun a new airborne gravity survey covering an area of 170,000 square kilometres in the Pilbara region.

Gravity survey in the Pilbara
‘Second-generation’ gravity coverage of Western Australia showing distribution of ground and airborne surveys. Most of the State is covered at a resolution of 2.5 km gravity observation points or airborne equivalent.

This comes hard on the heels of the release of data from GSWA’s 2018 airborne gravity surveys over large tracts of the Kimberley Basin, and the Little Sandy and Great Victoria Desert areas.

The Pilbara survey is the final piece of a seven-year collaborative program between GSWA and Geoscience Australia (GA), a division of the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

The survey contract has been awarded to Sander Geophysics Limited (SGL), using its proprietary AIRGrav system.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Director Geoscience Dr Ian Tyler said GSWA began its airborne gravity program in 2016 with a 38,000 line-km survey in the East Kimberley, also flown by SGL.

More and larger surveys were flown in 2017 by Thomson Aviation/CMGO with a GT-2A gravimeter and CGG Aviation with a Falcon® gravity gradiometer, and in 2018 by SGL.

“Approximately half the area of Western Australia is now covered with airborne gravity data at an equivalent resolution to GSWA’s ground surveys in the South West of the State,” he said.

“The release of the Pilbara survey data later this year will bring to completion a new generation of regional gravity coverage of the State, with up to 16 times higher resolution than the first generation coverage of the Australian continent by the then Bureau of Mineral Resources, now Geoscience Australia, in 1975.”

Further information about the department’s geoscientific projects is available at and more information about GA projects is available at: