3D geoscience

The 3D geoscience section of the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) aims to increase the knowledge of the State’s subsurface. This is achieved through the acquisition, analysis and modelling of geophysical, geological and geochemical data and their integration in 3D structural models. Activities include developing the capability to build, manage, analyse and store 3D models according to GSWA quality standards. GSWA works cooperatively with leading research institutions on imaging the deep crust and the lithospheric mantle, and on all aspects of the 3D modelling workflow.

3D geoscience projects

GSWA’s 3D geoscience team is involved with research projects that explore how the regional architecture of Earth’s lithosphere in Western Australia relates to the location of mineral and energy resources.

Passive seismic arrays use earthquakes as a source for seismic imaging techniques such as:

The 3D geoscience team is also working on the following regional 3D models:

Albany–Fraser model

This is a model of the tectonic elements of the Albany–Fraser Orogen at the southeast margin of the Yilgarn Craton. It uses data from the Albany–Fraser seismic survey constrained using active and passive seismic data from ALFREX and potential field data.

Madura and Coompana model

Following the 13GA–EG1 Deep Reflection Seismic Line, a model of the Madura and Coompana Provinces will continue eastwards from the Albany–Fraser model.

West Gawler model

Built in collaboration with the Geological Survey of South Australia, the third model across the 12GA–AF3 and 13GA–EG1 seismic lines is focused on the West Gawler Craton.

Northern Murchison model
This model outlines the relationships between the greenstones and various generations of granite intrusions in the Cue–Meekatharra area of the Murchison Domain, Yilgarn Craton.

Yilgarn fault network
This fault network of the Murchison Domain of the northwest Yilgarn Craton uses the faults mapped in the Youanmi seismic survey.

Published 3D models can be downloaded from the Data and Software Centre.

GSWA encourages 3D model builders to submit their completed 3D models to GSWA for archiving. Details of the formats for model submission are currently being developed and will be published soon.

3D geological visualisation and uncertainty

Interactive blending of filtered magnetic and gravity images in the same region.
Interactive blending of filtered magnetic and gravity images in the same region

Information entropy for two formations of the Sandstone greenstone belt.
Information entropy for two formations of the Sandstone greenstone belt

There is a strong interest in the data-to-knowledge workflow that underpins 3D geological modelling, particularly the quantification of errors and uncertainties that go into a 3D model. GSWA collaborates on this subject with the Centre for Exploration Targeting (CET) Geophysics and Image Analysis Theme at The University of Western Australia, the School of Earth, Atmosphere & Environment at Monash University, and the Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science. This work includes the development of the Integrated Exploration Platform (IEP), a geographic information system (GIS) plug-in that aims to improve the ease of interpretation of geophysical data with advanced visualisation techniques (Australian Research Council LP 140100267 ‘Reducing 3D geological uncertainty via improved data interpretation methods‘).

The IEP was launched at the GSWA Open Day 2016 on 26 February 2016 and is freely available on the web to explorers of Western Australia.

For more information contact: