A team of Victorian scientists have started mapping the underground rock structure of Benalla and north-eastern Victoria to build a three-dimensional model of the state’s geology.
Scientists from the Geological Survey of Victoria are now setting off on a 500km journey from near Benalla in the state’s north, heading eastwards to the NSW border, aboard specialist trucks to conduct what is effectively an ultrasound of north-east Victoria.
The special three-truck convoy, along with support vehicles, will be moving slowly and stopping every 40 metres to place vibrating metal plates on the ground.
The soundwaves generated by the vibrating plates pass though underground rock layers to a depth of 50km — reaching the base of the Earth’s crust.
The soundwaves then bounce back to the surface and are recorded by a series of sensitive microphones, providing geoscientists a picture of the rock formations deep beneath the surface.
From this data, scientists can build a three-dimensional model that details the geology beneath our feet.
The data will fill critical knowledge gaps about our state’s geology that can be used to improve ground water management, infrastructure construction and maintenance, natural hazard assessments, and future mineral exploration.
‘‘This survey will help us understand how Victoria’s geology was formed, and what lies deep beneath our feet,’’ Victorian Resources Minister Tim Pallas said.
‘‘The results will help regional communities understand aspects of the environment that are vitally important to them, such as ground water systems, and improve land-use decisions in the future.’’
It will take about 70 days to collect the data. Interpretation of the results by scientists will take another year to produce the 3D geological map.
Local communities along the route are being kept informed of the survey’s progress through regular contact with local councils, local authorities and advertisements in the local press, including traffic management measures that are being put in place.
The Geological Survey of Victoria is conducting the survey in collaboration with the Commonwealth’s Geoscience Australia, the Geological Survey of NSW and AuScope Limited, a non-profit geoscience company.