Eastern Capricorn basins

The Proterozoic Yerrida, Bryah, Earaheedy, and Padbury Basins lie in the eastern part of the Capricorn Orogen. This project aims to produce seamless digital geological layers of bedrock and regolith geology, based on new geophysical, remote sensing, geochemical, geochronological, and stratigraphic data.

The tectonic setting of these basins is still poorly understood. However, the basins are thought to have developed during rifting, accretion, and passive-margin tectonism along the northern margin of the Yilgarn Craton. The age of the basins is poorly constrained but they appear to have developed between c. 2200 and 1800 Ma and were deformed and metamorphosed at low grade during the 1820–1770 Ma Capricorn Orogeny. Based on the known stratigraphy, stacking of all the Proterozoic supracrustal units present in the eastern Capricorn Orogen, gives a maximum cumulative thickness of about 20 km.

These basins contain a significant endowment of VMS-hosted and epithermal base metal deposits, forming one of the largest copper provinces of Australia, including world-class Besshi-type VMS-base metal mineralization at the DeGrussa Cu–Au–Ag deposit in the Bryah Basin.

Project objectives

Most of the Eastern Capricorn basins were mapped in the 1990s and early 2000s at 1:100 000 scale, as individual map tiles with no seamless interpreted bedrock geology or digital coverage. The project will use new geophysical, remote sensing, geochemical, geochronological, and stratigraphic data to assemble seamless digital geological layers of bedrock and regolith geology. The digital layers will be published as the Eastern Capricorn basins Geological Information Series including accompanying Explanatory Notes.

Simplified geological map of the Capricorn Orogen showing the distribution of major structures, mineral deposits and occurrences
Simplified geological map of the Capricorn Orogen showing the distribution of major structures, mineral deposits and occurrences
Massive sulfide ore in contact with low-grade metasedimentary rocks at the DeGrussa deposit
Massive sulfide ore in contact with low-grade metasedimentary rocks at the DeGrussa deposit




1:100 000 Geological Series

1:250 000 Geological Series

Further publications

Further articles and posters are available in the Department eBookshop.

2018 Extensional episodes in the Paleoproterozoic Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia, revealed by petrogenesis and geochronology of mafic–ultramafic rocks

Olierook, HKH, Sheppard, S, Johnson, SP, Occhipinti, SA, Reddy, SM, Clark, C, Fletcher, IR, Rasmussen, B, Zi, Z-W, Pirajno, F, LaFlamme, C, Do, T, Ware, B, Blandthorn, E, Lindsay, M, Lu, Y-J, Crossley, RJ and Erikson, TM

Precambrian Research, 306, 22–40 doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2017.12.015

2017 The tectonics and mineral systems of Proterozoic Western Australia: Relationships with supercontinents and global secular change

Aitken, ARA, Occhipinti, SA, Lindsay, MD, Joly, A, Howard, HM, Johnson, SP, Hollis, JA, Spaggiari, CV, Tyler, IM, McCuaig, TC and Dentith, MC

Geoscience Frontiers, 9, 295–316 doi:10.1016/j.gsf.2017.05.008

2017 Paleoproterozoic basin development on the northern Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia

Occhipinti, SA, Hocking, RM, Lindsay, MD, Aitken, ARA, Copp, I, Jones, J, Sheppard, S, Pirajno, F and Metelka, V

Precambrian Research, 300, 121–140 doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2017.08.003


A new Paleoproterozoic tectonic history of the eastern Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia, revealed by U–Pb zircon dating of micro-tuffs

Sheppard, S, Fletcher, IR, Rasmussen, B, Zi, J–W., Muhling, JR, Occhipinti, SA, Wingate, MTD and Johnson, SP

Precambrian Research, 286, 1–19 doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2016.09.026


Oxygenation of shallow marine environments and chemical sedimentation in Palaeoproterozoic peritidal settings: Frere Formation, Western Australia

Akin, SJ, Pufahl, PK, Hiatt, EE and Pirajno, F

Sedimentology, 60, 1559–1582 doi:10.1111/sed.12038

2012 Seismic structure of the crust and uppermost mantle of the Capricorn and Paterson Orogens and adjacent cratons, Western Australia, from passive seismic transects

Reading, AM, Tkalcic, H, Kennett, BLN, Johnson, SP and Sheppard, S

Precambrian Research, 167–197, 295–308 doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2011.07.001

2012 Deposition of 1.88-billion-year-old iron formations as a consequence of rapid crustal growth

Rasmussen, B, Fletcher, IR, Bekker, A, Muhling, JA, Gregory, CJ and Thorne, AM

Nature, 484, 498–501 doi:10.1038/nature11021

2010 The Magellan Pb deposit, Western Australia; a new category within the class of supergene non-sulphide mineral systems

Pirajno, F, Burlow, R and Huston, DL

Ore Geology Reviews, 37, 101–113 doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2010.01.001

2009 A review of the geology and geodynamic evolution of the Palaeoproterozoic Earaheedy Basin, Western Australia

Pirajno, F, Hocking, RM, Reddy, S and Jones AJ

Earth-Science Reviews, 94, 39–77 doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2009.03.003

2004 Geology and tectonic evolution of Palaeoproterozoic basins of the eastern Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia

Pirajno, F, Jones, JA, Hocking, RM and Halilovic, J

Precambrian Research, 128, 315–342 doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2003.09.006

2004 Provenance of the Earaheedy Basin: implications for assembly of the Western Australian Craton

Halilovic, J, Cawood, PA, Jones, JA, Pirajno, F and Nemchin, AA

Precambrian Research, 128, 315–342 doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2003.09.007

2004 Metallogeny in the Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia, the result of multiple ore-forming processes

Pirajno, F

Precambrian Research, 128, 411–439 doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2003.09.010

2004 Oceanic plateau accretion onto the northwestern margin of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia: implications for a mantle plume event at ca. 2.0 Ga

Pirajno, F

Journal of Geodynamics, 37, 205–231 doi:10.1016/j.jog.2004.02.003

2002 Chert in the Palaeoproterozoic Bartle Member, Killara Formation, Yerrida Basin, Western Australia: a rift-related playa lake and thermal spring environment?

Pirajno, F and Grey, K

Precambrian Research, 113, 169–192 doi:10.1016/S0301-9268(01)00196-6

2000 Three Palaeoproterozoic basins — Yerrida, Bryah and Padbury — Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia

Pirajno, F and Occhipinti, SA

Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 47, 675–688 doi:10.1046/j.1440-0952.2000.00800.x

1999 Pseudomorphs after evaporitic minerals interbedded with 2.2 Ga stromatolites of the Yerrida basin, Western Australia: Origin and significance

Tabakh, ME, Grey, K, Pirajno, F and Schrieber, BC

Geology, 27(10), 871–874 doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1999)027<0871:PAEMIW>2.3.CO;2

1998 Geology and tectonic evolution of the Palaeoproterozoic Bryah, Padbury and Yerrida Basins (formerly Glengarry Basin), Western Australia: implications for the history of the south-central Capricorn Orogen

Pirajno, F, Occhipinti, SA and Swager, CP

Precambrian Research, 90, 119–140 doi:10.1016/S0301-9268(98)00045-X


Structural-metamorphic evolution of the Palaeoproterozoic Bryah and Padbury Groups during the Capricorn orogeny, Western Australia

Occhipinti, SA, Swager, CP and Pirajno, F

Precambrian Research, 90, 141–158 doi:10.1016/S0301-9268(98)00046-1




Much of this work is supported by the Western Australian Government Exploration Incentive Scheme.


For more information contact: