Ashley Laurence Uren
Thesis: Links between basin development, deep crustal scale structures and mineralising processes, Bresnahan Basin, Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia
The research is within the Western Australian Capricorn Orogen project, which is part of the Distal Footprints of Giant Mineral Systems initiative, a collaboration between UWA, Curtin University, CSIRO, GSWA and the minerals industry. The focus will be upon the Paleoproterozoic Bresnahan Basin in the northern Capricorn Orogen that has not had published geological research for ~25 years, although geologic understanding in nearby areas has progressed markedly during that time. Interpretation of new geophysical datasets will be integrated with existing and new sedimentological, structural and geochronological data. From this the tectonic setting and stratigraphic evolution of the basin will be reconstructed, with implications for the orogen at the time of basin evolution. Inclusion of forward modeling and/or inversion of gravity and magnetic geophysical data will be used to interpret crustal-scale architecture beneath the Bresnahan Basin. Knowledge of the basin evolution will aid interpretation of the location, and nature of crustal scale faults, that can be obscured by the sedimentary basin or difficult to map due to the lack of petrophysical contrast between different sedimentary units. The approach has been shown to be useful elsewhere, in particular, within the Mt Isa block, Northern Australia. Finally, the work will lead to development of models for assessing mineral prospectivity of the region, using a mineral systems approach.
Why my research is important
Basin analysis within mineral exploration has over recent times become more significantly used. In particular, mineral system research has indicated the importance of both crustal scale faults and knowledge of geodynamic setting for formation of economic ore bodies. Therefore, within basin dominated terranes, knowledge of basin evolution is important to constrain both of these elements. The petroleum industry routinely integrates geological and geophysical datasets to derive basin evolution, however, some of the approaches they use is not practical in a mineral exploration context, usually due to expense. The Capricorn Orogen project has a range of geophysical and remote sensing data, along with the more traditional geological datasets, that can be tested for their significance in evaluating basin evolution, i.e. gravity, airborne magnetics, magnetotellurics, airborne electromagnetics, hyperspectral mineral maps, ASTER, Landsat 8 and radiometric data. The research should re-iterate the merits of basin analysis in mineral system research, as well as indicate the more useful datasets for a mineral exploration context.