The successful completion of a 3D Seismic Survey in April 2014 was a significant step for the South West Hub Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) feasibility project.
The survey ran for six weeks and covered 115 square kilometres within the Harvey and Waroona Shire. The cooperation and goodwill shown by landowners and contractors were major contributors to the success of this project.
Data collected via the survey has allowed scientists to develop a greater understanding of the stratigraphy, or formations that lie under the Earth's surface.
After processing, it is being used to create a 3D model of the underground. This will inform the study into the feasibility of storing CO2 from local industrial processes within the Lesueur Sandstone formation, lying between 1.4 and 3 kilometres underground.
Data from the seismic survey is publicly available. The Minister for Mines and Petroleum released the data at an open day for Geoscience Australia, held in Perth in February 2015.
The data is available from the Department of Mines and Petroleum's (DMP) website via the online systems section or the Western Australian Petroleum and Geothermal Information Management System (WAPIMS).
The 3D Seismic Survey data was collected across rural land using low frequency sound waves emitted from vibroseis trucks.
This data was then used to build a 3D model of the underground and used to identify locatations in Harvey for the Shallow Well Drilling program's three stratigraphic wells.
The survey area covered about 115 square kilometres to the north-west of Harvey townsite. The majority of area landowners provided permission to access their properties for the survey. They each negotiated tailor-made agreements with DMP and the Project’s Land Access Team - addressing their individual requests and preferences.
Permission was granted for surveying on Crown land and State land outside areas of high cultural or environmental significance.
3D Seismic Surveying has a minimal environmental impact
The subsurface geological formations were mapped using seismic waves sent into the ground from vibroseis trucks. A grid pattern was established across the survey area, with survey lines laying approximately 200 metres apart. This work was carried out by surveying contractor Geokinetics.
The echoes reflecting off various subsurface formations are received at the surface using geophones and recorded for analysis. These instruments are about the size of mobile phones and do not leave any footprint.
The vibroseis trucks were fitted with flotation tyres that exert a ground pressure roughly equivalent to a family four wheel drive fitted with standard tyres.
The South West Hub worked with environmental contracting company Umwelt to ensure the surveying met environmental guidelines. Download the 3D Seismic Survey Harvey and Waroona Environmental Management Plan December 2013 (29mb).
The 3D Seismic Survey successfully conducted for the South West Hub in 2014 was one of the most complex surveys of its kind in Australia. This video provides a complete overview of the project.
Data collected during the 3D Seismic Survey data has been processed and used to create a three-dimensional model of the underground. This video shows how scientists identify the underground formations using data from the survey.
Seismic activities in Harvey
In addition to the large and complex 3D Seismic Survey conducted in 2014, several smaller seismic surveys have been run in the Harvey-Waroona area which have contributed to our knowledge about the underground.
Initially a 2D Seismic Survey was conducted in 2011 along 106kms of roads to the north-west of Harvey town site.
Curtin University used their vibroseis trucks for a 9km 2D Seismic Survey along Riverdale Road in 2013 and for a small 3D Seismic Survey in 2014.
The University of Western Australia has established passive seismic monitors at locations around Harvey to measure and record movements in the earth.
In 2014 the National Geosequestration Laboratory in Kensington purchased a scientific broadband seismometer which operates from the library at St Anne’s Primary School in Harvey. More than 40 seismometers are established in schools around Australia providing valuable data for research scientists worldwide.