Multiscale studies of electrical conductivity variations, Yerrida Basin, Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia: implications for geological mapping in sedimentary basins

Sasha Banaszczyk, Perla Piña-Varas, Mike Dentith, David Annetts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Yerrida Basin in the south-eastern Capricorn Orogen, WA is a Proterozoic sedimentary basin that is prospective for base metals. A regional TEMPEST airborne electromagnetics (AEM) survey over the Capricorn Orogen, coinciding magnetotelluric (MT) survey and available downhole electrical property measurements provide an opportunity to compare the electrical conductivity of the rocks, and the electromagnetic (EM) responses of near surface and deeper sedimentary packages of the Yerrida Basin. Of particular interest is assessing whether it is possible to obtain reliable structural and stratigraphic information from, and to what depth, such as is required for exploration of basin terrains. The MT data were modelled using a 3D inversion algorithm, and the AEM data were modelling using a 1D inversion algorithm. An integrated interpretation of the two datasets allows surface geology to be mapped and for a conductivity section to be created to several kilometres depth. Electrical property measurements showed that one of the stratigraphic units, the Johnson Cairn Formation, is anomalously conductive and hence is readily mapped allowing faults, folds, thickness variations etc to be inferred from the inversions. The underlying and resistive Juderina Formation also gives rise to EM responses, albeit less strong. The results suggest significant modification of the published geological map of the area. The study demonstrates the usefulness of EM methods for exploring sedimentary terrains, but this is greatly facilitated by the presence of conductive stratigraphic units. While not always common practice in green fields exploration, it is recommended that electrical petrophysical measurements are made before committing to large scale EM surveys to better constrain interpretations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExploration Geophysics
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 May 2023

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