Finding needles in haystacks
The NCI high performance computers are enabling geophysicists at Geoscience Australia to finally be able to fully use the vast amounts of geophysical data that has been acquired over the Australian Continent over the last 100 years.
Geophysical data has been collected by researchers, government agencies and the private sector for over 100 years in thousands of individual surveys and data acquisition campaigns that are targeting the management of water, mineral and petroleum resources. The volumes have grown exponentially and has been very difficult to use data from multiple surveys to look for regional and national scale patterns or to do targeted local scale searches eg. Looking at ‘signatures’ around known ore deposits to find similar ‘signatures’ in greenfields areas that could be signals from buried deposits.
Most ore deposits are less than 1 km wide and hence are extremely difficult to find in buried terrains – it is like finding a needle in a haystack. NCI has opened up new opportunities for geophysics research in Australia. It is now possible to combine data from multiple surveys into high resolution national data sets and to search for those ‘needles’.
New processing algorithms and tools are also being developed for these high resolution geophysical data sets that will have applications beyond mineral exploration and contribute to the management of water resources and the prediction of natural hazards. Together these new applications and possibilities enabled by the NCI facility will make a very valuable contribution to the sustainable development of Australia’s resources.