New airborne gravity survey set to explore Pilbara

‘Second-generation’ gravity coverage of Western Australia showing distribution of ground and airborne surveys. Photo: Government of Western Australia

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

This follows the release of data from GSWA’s 2018 airborne gravity surveys over large parts of the Kimberley Basin, and the Little Sandy and Great Victoria Desert areas.

The Pilbara survey marks the final part of a seven-year program between GSWA and Geoscience Australia – a division of the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Sander Geophysics has been awarded the survey contract, using its proprietary AIRGrav system.

GSWA started its airborne gravity program in 2016 with a 38,000 line-kilometre survey in the East Kimberley that was also flown by Sander Geophysics.

Larger surveys were flown in 2017 by Thomson Aviation/CMGO with a GT-2A gravimeter and CGG Aviation with a Falcon gravity gradiometer, before using Sander Geophysics in 2018.

“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,” Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Director Geoscience Ian Tyler 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.”

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