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Project name:AusLAMP Deep Crustal Magnetotellurics 
Project leader:Stephan Thiel
Project group:

Graham Heinson (University of Adelaide)
Bruce Goleby (OPM Consulting, University of Adelaide)
Philippa Mawby (University of Adelaide)
Geoff Axford (University of Adelaide)
Kate Robertson
Ursula Michael
Jonathan Irvine

Program:Far North Discovery Program


Map showing location of AusLAMP deep crustal magnetotelluricsThe Australian Lithospheric Architecture Magnetotelluric Project (AusLAMP) is a collaborative national magnetotelluric (MT) project focused on acquiring long-period MT data at approximately 2800 sites across Australia, over half degree grid spacing (approximately 50 km). The resultant AusLAMP data will be used to map the electrical conductivity of the entire continent in three dimensions.

This latest phase of the AusLAMP Survey will acquire around 80 sites across the north-eastern part of South Australia.

The data acquisition will be undertaken by the University of Adelaide (UofA) with support from the Department of State Development (DSD). The acquisition program is expected to last 6–12 months.

This project is linked to the  to the APY MT AusLAMP survey covering the north-western part of the state, which is also undertaken by the University of Adelaide with funding provided by National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

Data acquisition is split between the two projects and will progress based on land access across the northern part of state. It is envisaged that data acquisition for both projects will be completed by the end of 2017.

Data will be processed, modelled and interpreted by DSD upon collection in collaboration with universities and federal agencies. The data will be publicly available upon acquisition with 3D resistivity models to follow.


The Australian Lithospheric Architecture Magnetotelluric Project (AusLAMP) aims to provide significant additional information about Australia’s geodynamic framework as well as valuable precompetitive data for resource exploration.

To date, AusLAMP through partnerships of Geoscience Australia, State and Territory Geological Surveys, the University of Adelaide and other research organisations, have acquired long-period MT data across south-eastern Australia under the AusLAMP-VIC and AusLAMP-Western/Central Gawler Craton and Maralinga-Tjarutja collaborative projects across Victoria and through southern South Australia.

The AusLAMP Survey commenced in South Australia in October 2014 as a collaborative project between the University of Adelaide (through the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences), the Government of South Australia (through the Geological Survey of South Australia (GSSA)), and Commonwealth Government (through Geoscience Australia). Survey work conducted by the University of Adelaide and GSSA, funded through the South Australian Government’s PACE initiative, collected approximately 230 MT sites to date across southern South Australia (south of 28.5° latitude).

The program of work defined in this program is a new and complementary survey designed to expand MT coverage in South Australia’s far north-east and further contribute to AusLAMP’s goal of acquiring a national MT coverage. New MT data stations will be deployed in the area north of the Flinders Ranges, bound by the Stuart Highway to the west and the  South Australia–Queensland border to the east, with the aim of imaging the electrical structure of the continental lithosphere and identifying major crustal structure regions.

Information derived from the data will complement and be integrated with other major national datasets (eg aeromagnetic, gravity, seismic tomography, geological, geochemical, temperature) for improved definition of areas with potential for mineral and energy resources. This dataset will also add to the knowledge base for improving scientific understanding of the lithosphere on a national/regional scale.

Once publicly released and incorporated into national datasets the data will also provide a valuable resource for the industry, academic and research sectors.

Key outcomes

  • To image the electrical resistivity structure of the lithosphere through MT data across the Cooper Basin and the north-eastern part of South Australia in general
  • To identify and characterise resistivity of the major structures (eg domain boundaries, faults, shear zones, sedimentary basins, fluids, thermal structure) in the crust and upper mantle
  • To integrate results with known geology, available geophysical data and other datasets to help define potential mineral and energy systems
  • Complete coverage of the AusLAMP grid of South Australia and provide baseline data for future in-fill surveys to unlock new prospective areas of the state

Schedule for information and product delivery

Deliverable Time frame
Completion of data acquisition Q3 2017
Processing of AusLAMP data to EDI format and available through SARIG Q4 2017
Report on survey results. Presentation at forthcomoing GSSA Discovery Day (December 2017), ASEG and international conference Q1-2 2018
Preparation for publication in international peer-reviewed journal Q3-4 2018