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Capricorn Distal Footprints Project


The project aimed to understand and establish the evolution of the mineral systems within the context of a tectonically complex geological history, establishing how footprints can be identified both laterally and through the thick expanse of regolith and sedimentary.  The 4 year project involved CET/SES/UWA, Curtin University, the CSIRO, GSWA/DMIRS and industry sponsors and was funded by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) and MRIWA.

The Project set out to develop exploration workflows and appropriate toolkits that would significantly enhance the prospectivity of the region, although the outcomes have an application to exploration in covered terrains elsewhere. The approach taken integrated regional- and lithospheric-scale datasets with prospect-scale, focused studies to determine and develop scale-dependent criteria for the recognition of distal footprints to mineral systems. To this end multi-commodity mineral systems analysis through geological time and covering the Capricorn Orogen was undertaken resulting in the production of targeting work flows for the terrane and district scale and accompanying prospectivity maps and tool boxes. The work also set out to undertake a detailed examination of the extensive cover sequences that both hinder our ability to detect ore deposits but also present an opportunity to host them (e.g. CID, channel U), and following this prospectivity models for surficial deposits were also completed.

A key goal of the Project has been to address the scale dependency of targeting, with the emphasis on pushing prediction-detection crossover (Figure 1) to larger (regional) scales by defining the nature of data to use, at what scales, and at what resolution. The Capricorn Project addresses many elements of the UNCOVER vision (AMIRA 2017), bridging the gap between the research efforts of the CCFS and DETCRC. 

Figure 1: Scale dependent targeting and the contribution of the Capricorn Project (from Munday and Occhipinti, in prep).

The project comprised the following six Themes under which the research was conducted: 
1) Mineral System Evolution
2) Cover Characterization 
3) Mineral Hosts as Distal Footprints