Senior DMP geoscientists complete joint fieldwork with China

Promoting cooperation between government Geological Surveys
Date: Monday, 13 October 2014

A senior delegation led by DMP’s Geological Survey of Western Australia executive director Dr Rick Rogerson recently returned following a tour to mark the end of the main phase of geological mapping in China’s Gansu Province. 

A senior delegation led by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP’s) Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) executive director Dr Rick Rogerson recently returned following a tour to mark the end of the main phase of geological mapping in China’s Gansu Province.

The 12-day tour, part of a high-level Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between DMP and the Chinese Ministry of Land Resources, included a two day workshop with Chinese government officials and exploration and mining groups from surrounding regions.

Following the workshop Dr Rogerson, along with two other GSWA experts, joined a joint GSWA/China Geological Survey (CGS) field trip to the northern Tibet Plateau for three days of on-field discussions, including ongoing activities under the MoU beyond 2014.

GSWA’s Cooperation in Geoscience MoU with the CGS is the first major joint venture project with an Australian State geological survey and has already resulted in joint mapping exercises in the Yalgoo area of WA’s Murchison region, and the north west of China’s Gansu Province.

The Beijing-based geoscientific organisation also has six regional centres where pre-competitive projects are undertaken, along with research into geohazards such as coastal engineering, landslide risk mitigation and seismic-related damage litigation.

CGS identified GSWA as an organisation that was well-suited and well-recognised internationally to help them improve Chinese mapping techniques.

“The China Geological Survey wanted us to share the way we do things, and we went over to China to share our techniques and our mapping process, with an emphasis in understanding geology, rather than just doing maps,” Dr Rogerson said.

He said there were also benefits to GSWA geoscientists being exposed to younger, well exposed, examples of rocks and the rock systems in China, and was an important learning experience.

Much of the geology of WA is extremely old, highly deformed and poorly exposed, and geologists rely on the ‘uniformitarian’ concept that ancient geological sequences evolved in the same way as modern sequences.

The areas examined in China, including those in the northern Tibet Plateau at the zone where two continents collided in the past, represent relatively young examples of some geological environments that are considered important in the geological evolution of the State.

This helps WA geocientists to understand ancient rocks in WA, mineral systems and the evolution of mineral deposits and importantly residual prospectivity.

GSWA techniques involve an integration of numerous geological disciplines such as geophysics, structural geology, geochemistry and geochronology which ultimately leads to a better understanding of geological evolution that allows for better assessment for prospectivity.

The systems developed by GSWA apply a more holistic and scientific approach to mapping and the survey is recognised as a world leader in digital mapping technology.