Joint geoscience projects

The Northern Territory Geological Survey (NTGS) conducts field-based geoscientific projects throughout the Territory.

This guide provides information on the joint projects currently taking place in the Territory:

  • Geochronology
  • NT ASTER Mineral Maps.

These aim to collect, interpret and synthesise geoscientific data, which is then disseminated free-of-charge to the mining, petroleum and hydrothermal sectors, and to other clients.


NTGS has an ongoing geochronology and isotope geochemistry program, supporting NTGS regional geoscientific investigations and mapping projects across the Territory.

NTGS, with collaborators, undertake a range of analyses, including:

  • Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICPMS)
  • U-Pb zircon and monazite geochronology
  • LA-ICPMS in situ garnet rare earth element (REE) analysis and Hf zircon isotopic analysis
  • SHRIMP and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) O zircon isotopic analysis
  • Sm-Nd whole-rock and mineral isotopic analysis using Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (MC-ICPMS).

Undertaking these types of studies allows NTGS geologists to understand the timing and nature of geological processes important to the geological evolution of the Northern Territory.

  • U-Pb zircon and monazite studies are undertaken to constrain the absolute timing of geological events, including magmatism, metamorphism and deformation, and the source regions for detrital zircon
  • In situ garnet and zircon REE and Ti analyses are used to link metamorphic zircon growth to pressure-temperature conditions.
  • Sm-Nd wholerock and Lu-Hf zircon studies are undertaken on dated samples to provide further information on crust formation. These tools are useful to “see back” through overprinting tectonothermal events to understand the geological process happening at the time of formation.
  • δ18O analysis of dated zircons provides information about crust formation and crust recycling events and post-emplacement hydrothermal events. Coupled with zircon Hf data can be used to identify zircon that has grown in mantle-derived melt and the timing of its extraction from the mantle.

Project collaborators

Project outputs

  • Kositcin N, Whelan JA, Hallett L and Beyer EE, 2014. Summary of results. Joint NTGS–GA geochronology project: Amadeus Basin, Arunta Region and Murphy Province, July 2012–June 2013. Northern Territory Geological Survey, Record 2014-005.
  • Kositcin N, Beyer EE and Whelan JA, 2014. Summary of results. Joint NTGS–GA geochronology project: Arunta Region July 2013–June 2014. Northern Territory Geological Survey, Record 2014-008.
  • Kositcin N, Normington VJ and Edgoose CJ, 2015. Summary of results. Joint NTGS–GA geochronology project: Amadeus Basin July 2013–June 2014. Northern Territory Geological Survey, Record 2015-001.

Products released from the Geochronology project prior to 2014 can be found in the Product Catalogue

A partnership between:

Northern Territory mineral index maps, generated using data from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), have been released.

This follows the release of the Western Australian in 2011 and South Australia maps in 2012 and is a critical step to achieving a national ASTER Geoscience map.

ASTER is a remote sensing tool able to map mineralogy on a regional scale with sufficient spatial and spectral detail for mineral exploration. ASTER mineral index maps enable alteration to be identified before field work is undertaken, maximising the value of time spent in the field.

ASTER's 16 spectral bands were designed specifically to measure diagnostic absorption bands related to mineral groups like clays and iron oxides. From these bands C3DMM has developed a processing methodology to remove complicating effects and transform the raw data into 14 geoscience products from the visible and near infrared (VNIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR):

The Northern Territory release includes thermal infrared (TIR) mineral products - silica and quartz indices - which add to the 16 standard minerals products generated from ASTER's shorter wavelength bands.

VNIR-SWIR products

  • Regolith ratiosASTER False Colour Composite
  • Opaque index
  • MgOH group content
  • MgOH group composition
  • Kaolin group index
  • Green vegetation content
  • False colour composite
  • Ferrous iron index
  • Ferrous iron content
  • Ferrous iron content in MgOH
  • Ferrous iron composition
  • FeOH group content
  • AIOH group content
  • AIOH group composition

TIR products

  • Silica index
  • Quartz index

Accessing the map products

The NT ASTER mineral maps are available in ECW format for viewing through NTGS’s Geophysical Image Web Server. Individual image URL’s are also available for pasting into your GIS application. A complete data set including ECW, TIF, JPG and BSQ data is available from NTGS’s InfoCentre. Please supply a new portable hard drive with at least 500GB capacity.

Useful Resources

For geophysical and remote sensing data for the the mines and energy section on the Northern Territory Government website

Last updated: 16 October 2019


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