School of Science
Deep Earth Imaging Future Science Platform and Mineral Resources Discovery Program at CSIRO
The ferricrete units (Fe oxide cemented colluvial-alluvial sediment) of the Yilgarn Craton in Western Australia formed during the humid tropical and sub-tropical climates of the Cenozoic. Ferricretes are generally developed on long-lived paleodrainage systems and are products of the ferruginisation of detritus provided by the continuous erosion of upslopes. These iron-rich accumulations can become Au-enriched, as is the case in several locations previously discovered in the Yilgarn Craton; many of these host economic secondary gold deposits (e.g., Moolart Well, Mt Gibson, and Bulchina), typically occurring downslope of low saprolite hills and near paleovalleys (i.e., inset-valleys). Inset-valleys are a common paleotopographic feature buried under Quaternary alluvial and colluvial sedimentary cover. Maps of these ancient channel networks can be used as a proxy for targeting ferricrete gold deposits. These inset-valley systems generally form dendritic and noisy patterns in high-resolution aeromagnetic data due to the presence of maghemite-rich nodules and detrital magnetic pisoliths on their flanks. The main aim of this study was to use high-resolution aeromagnetic data to target ferricrete units related to inset-valleys systems across the Yilgarn Craton. A spatial predictive model was used to learn and predict the geological units of interest from pre-processed aeromagnetic data. The predicted inset-valleys systems were able to confine the exploration space and define a new exploration frontier for ferricrete gold deposits.
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