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COVID-19 Updates for resources sector: fee relief | To report a serious incident to DEM, as required by Section 85(2) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, licensees should contact the serious incident reporting hotline on: (08) 8463 6666. For more information please visit the Compliance and Monitoring webpage | DEM-ERD has just released the first “Basin in a Box” data-package covering the Simpson and Pedirka Basins. The dataset is available via the “Data and Publications” page. Each package is a consolidated set of seismic and well data to facilitate new ventures and exploration assessments of frontier basins in South Australia. Data releases for other frontier basins will follow. | Changes to data submission requirements during COVID-19 restrictions. For further information see here.

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204224-026_Warburton_BasinWarburton Basin location map

Fracture analysis of the Eastern Warburton Basin

This report presents the details of a study, the first of its kind, which has identified and mapped a regional fracture system through upper levels of the Warburton Basin.

The Cambro-Ordovician Warburton Basin strata and intrusive granites are conventionally regarded as economic basement beneath the Cooper-Eromanga oil and gas province in northeast South Australia and southwest Queensland.

fracture analysisView and download more about the Fracture analysis of the Eastern Warbuton Basin (Early Palaeozoic) South Australia

GIS data atlas

The Early Palaeozoic Warburton Basin formed the primary target for the first petroleum exploration conducted in State’s northeastern corner in the late 1950s by Santos and Delhi.  The discovery of gas in the overlying Cooper Basin in 1963 understandably and dramatically changed the focus of exploration in the region for the next 40 years.

Shows and discoveries of oil and gas in diverse Warburton Basin rock types over the last decade and the influx of new explorers following the expiry of PELs 5 and 6 in the region have renewed interest in this under explored basin.

Over the last 15 years, the Department for Energy and Mining conducted a number of research projects on the Warburton Basin stratigraphic framework, biostratigraphy, reservoirs, seals, rock types and the enigmatic weathered horizon around the Cooper/Warburton interface (researchers included Colin Gatehouse, the late Dr Dave Gravestock, Jacque Hibburt and more recently Rod Boucher and Xiaowen Sun).

Rod Boucher (Linex Pty Ltd) was commissioned by DEM using Targeted Exploration Initiative SA funding to bring together Warburton Basin research concepts and data into a comprehensive atlas.  This atlas has been compiled on a CD which incorporates new and existing petroleum databases including:

  • Relevant reports in pdf format
  • Scanned core photographs
  • Scanned composite logs
  • Excerpts from scanned well completion reports
  • Scanned seismic lines
  • Spreadsheets of formation tops
  • Digital thin section images

ArcExplorerGIS projects are also included, with subcrop maps, tectonic and magnetic interpretations, wells, petroleum shows and tenements so key data are readily accessible via GIS front ends.

The CD dataset aims to provide company geologists and mud loggers in an office or mud logging truck on a wellsite with sufficient information to quickly and accurately identify Warburton Basin rock units. It was compiled and developed in-house for Rod Boucher by PIRSA Petroleum Group and Publishing Services.

This atlas is now part of the Cooper and Eromanga consolidated data package.

For more information or to order a free copy of the Warburton Basin GIS data atlas email

Lineament tectonics for Oil and Ore

In 1996 Primary Industries and Resources, South Australia (PIRSA) secured the services of Dr E.S.T. (Tim) O'Driscoll who is internationally acknowledged for his contributions to structural geology and lineament tectonics. He has become well known for his contribution to Australian continental lineament analysis. O'Driscoll is not alone in the field of lineament tectonics, but it is his unique and less publicised method of 'chicken track' lineament analysis which standout as one of the most remarkable and fruitful scientific breakthroughs in recent years.

Lineament tectonics was successfully used to target the Olympic Dam (Cu-Au-U-Rare Earth Elements) deposit (Lalor, 1987; O'Driscoll, 1988, Woodall, 1993, 1994). The discovery arose from innovative management of geological, geophysical and lineament teams. However, the significance of the role of lineament tectonics has only recently become known and accepted. Figure 1 demonstrates how remarkable O'Driscoll's work was. From an area of 31 000 km2 of the TORRENS and ANDAMOOKA 1:250 000 map areas, O'Driscoll's primary target accurately defined the orebody.


Following the discovery of Olympic Dam, lineament analysis was used to identify a priority target in Queensland which now contains the Century lead-zinc deposit (Woodall, 1992). Unfortunately this target was overlooked at the time and it was not until almost 20 years later that CRA made the discovery, independently of the 'chicken track' lineament data. Similarly, the Boddington, Plutonic and Kanowna Belle gold deposits in Western Australia lie on previously defined lineament data (Woodall, 1991).

'Chicken Track' lineament analysis is a method of sampling components of regional discontinuities which are recognisable on air photo mosaics. 'Chicken Track'  data are then combined with other information used for exploration to identify lineament targets. In particular, the SAEI (South Australian Exploration Initiative) aeromagnetic surveys played an integral role in lineament analysis.

It is from the combination of all of the geologically significant data that lineaments can be extracted and, ultimately, targets such as those encompassing Olympic Dam or Century are identified. This final step is an intensive process requiring the lineaments and host rocks to meet numerous criteria.

PIRSA began a project in 1996 to cover petroleum and mineral provinces within South Australia. O'Driscoll worked with  petroleum geologist Rodney Boucher who has completed a Ph.D. on lineament tectonics. A pilot project was completed over the northern Adelaide Geosyncline followed by studies in the Cooper Basin area.

The results of these studies are now available as two reports:


Lalor JH, 1987. The Olympic Dam copper-uranium-gold-silver deposit, South Australia. In: Horn, MK (Ed), 4th Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Singapore, 1986. Transactions, pp 561-567

O'Driscoll EST, 1988. Lineament tectonics in ore search, with examples including Olympic Dam. Australian Mineral Foundation course 563/88 (unpublished).

Woodall R, 1991. WMC's Australian mineral exploration: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Western Australian Geoscientific Technical Conference, Perth, 1991 (unpublished)

Woodall R, 1992. Empiricism and concept in successful exploration. In: 11th Australian Geological Convention, Ballarat, 1992. Geological Society of Australia. Abstracts, 32:49-51

Woodall R, 1993. The multidisciplinary team approach to successful mineral exploration. Society of Economic Geologists. Newsletter. 14:1-6

Woodall R, 1994. Empiricism and concept in successful mineral exploration. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 41(1):1-10

For more information, contact:

Elinor Alexander
Geoscience and Exploration Branch

+61 8429 2436