The largest open-file collection of fully reviewed and standardized palynological data in Australia is now available for download.

As the demand for water increases due to population and industry growth, understanding the hydrogeological characteristics of aquifers becomes even more crucial to our future.

For this reason, groundwater has become an important part of our portfolio at MGPalaeo, and we are heavily involved in a number of large-scale ongoing projects with multiple companies and government organizations across the Perth, Canning, and Great Artesian basins.

By far the biggest of these is our multi-year collaboration with Geoscience Australia, which has just seen the publication of three reports and associated datasets under their National Groundwater Systems project, part of Exploring for the Future (EFTF)—an eight-year, $225 million Australian Government funded program focused on better understanding of the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources across Australia.

These studies were concentrated in the Great Artesian Basin (GAB), Lake Eyre Basin (LEB), Carpentaria Basin and upper Darling River floodplain region (see figure below).

[Image from Hannaford & Rollett, 2023]

Building on previous palynological work under this project (Hannaford et al., 2022), an additional 688 boreholes across the GAB were examined as part of this second phase study, bringing the total number of studied boreholes to a massive 1,394!

This extensive palynological review has led to a re-evaluation of stratigraphic correlations across the entire GAB, LEB, and Upper Darling Floodplain region. In particular, the refined correlation of Jurassic and Cretaceous units between the Surat and Eromanga basins has greatly improved the understanding of hydrogeological unit geometry, lithological variation, and potential connectivity above, below and within the GAB aquifers.  

To access the palynological reports and digital datasets:

Palynological data review of selected wells and new sampling results in the Great Artesian Basin

Palynological data review of selected boreholes in the Great Artesian, Lake Eyre basins and Upper Darling Floodplain (part 2) ‒ Infilling data and knowledge gaps

The second report recently released by GA detailed a stratigraphic review of key boreholes across various basins forming the GAB and the Cenozoic Lake Eyre Basin, further extending the scope of the original study. This report refines the hydrogeological conceptualization models within these basins, with a focus on improving our understanding of the characteristics of the main regional aquitard.

To access the stratigraphic reports (containing edited wireline logs, Vshale logs and lithostratigraphic data):

Regional stratigraphic correlation transects across the Great Artesian Basin – Eromanga and Surat basins focus study

Regional stratigraphic correlation transects across the Great Artesian, Lake Eyre basins and Upper Darling Floodplain region (part 2) ‒ Infilling data and knowledge gaps

The final report focused on seismic data interpretations in the Eromanga and Pedirka basins, with the aim of updating the geometry and depth of key geological and hydrogeological surfaces.

To access the seismic report and digital datasets:

Western and Central Eromanga and underlying basins seismic interpretation – Data package

Palynology plays a critical role in understanding the depositional and structural history of aquifers, helping to correlate geological units with hydrostratigraphic units. The datasets released by GA go a long way towards building a national groundwater database that will allow for long-term groundwater resource management, while bridging the gap in terminology usage across jurisdiction borders.

Keep an eye out for the next open-file data package, which will include data from the Georgina, Amadeus, Officer, McArthur and South Nicholson basins and is due to be released before the end of the year.