Tectonics and Metallogeny
This theme addresses the fundamental nature of basement rocks in South Australia and Australia, their tectonic evolution and their mineral prospectivity. Large portions of these basement rocks are Proterozoic (0.5 - 2.5 billion years old) or Archaean (older than 2.5 billion years) in age and are some of the most metallogenically well-endowed rocks on the planet. Known occurrences in rocks of this age include giants such as Olympic Dam Cu-Au-U (SA), Broken Hill Ag-Pb-Zn (NSW), Mount Isa Cu-Pb-Zn (QLD), the Pilbara iron-ore deposits (WA) and the many gold deposits around Kalgoorlie (WA).
The mineral endowment of these ancient rocks is a direct function of their tectonic evolution, and should be assessed in the context of that tectonic evolution in the same way that other aspects of Geology are assessed (stratigraphy, structure, metamorpism, magmatism etc.). This is a significant challenge in ancient rocks, and doubly so in rocks that are largely concealed beneath young cover sequences.
The strategy of CMXUC is to sample the basement where posssible, map the limited exposures, sample from drill core; to determine its thermal and structural history through detailed metamorphic and microstructural analysis; to characterise its age and geochemical evolution using the extensive analytical facilities at the University of Adelaide; to map out from these control points in three-dimensions using geophysical data - particularly potential field data.
In collaboration with the Continental Research Evolution Group (CERG) at the University of Adelaide, PIRSA and the mineral exploration community a four-dimensional picture of the architecture and tectonic evolution of South Australia will be created, enabling the description of known patterns of metallogeny and predict prospective regions under cover.
Current Research Projects
- Three-dimensional magnetotelluric imaging of lithospheric-scale mineral systems from source to deposit - (An ARC funded Linkage project - LP0774891)
- Delamerian Orogen Mineral Systems (Kanmantoo)
- Tectonics of the 1590Ma metallogeny
- Structural geology, metamorphism and mineralisation at the Challenger mine, central South Australia: one of the worlds wierdest gold deposits
- Petrology, geochemistry and hyperspectral signature of IOCG alteration
- Evolution of the Adelaidean Basin