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Australian Regolith Conference.

With the state’s widespread occurrence of extensively weathered rocks, the Geological Survey of South Australia (GSSA) was well suited to lead the 5th Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association Conference. Information on regolith case studies and developments were shared during two days of presentations in Wallaroo and three days of field visits to South Australian sites.

Over 20 technical presentations were given on topics ranging from the national UNCOVER initiative, regolith geochemistry and hydrogeology to soils and landscape evolution. GSSA staff gave four presentations including on ‘XRF analysis for mineral exploration through cover’ by Adrian Fabris.

The preconference field trip to Clare Valley was led by Mick Roche (formerly BHP) and Mario Werner (GSSA). Delegates were introduced to the ‘Clare Valley Rocks’, an initiative sponsored by the Clare Valley Winemakers Inc., Clare Region Winegrape Growers Association and Regional Development Australia, that highlights the influence of the underlying geology as a factor contributing to variation in wine styles across the region. Soils developed on various rock types were examined.

Figure 1 Clinton Quarry. (Photo 416627)
Figure 1 At the Clinton Quarry, free-flowing construction sand is extracted from a 60 m deep Eocene paleochannel overlain by Miocene marine limestone, now highly weathered and partially silicified. (Photo 416627)

On the northern Yorke Peninsula, Gus Harvey, Carmen Krapf and John Keeling (all GSSA) showcased geology from the Mesoproterozoic (Harlequin Stone, or Oorlano Metasomatite) at a quarry near Wallaroo, silcrete developed on Cambrian sediments at Moonta Bay Jetty, historic copper mining at Moonta and Eocene construction sand at Clinton Quarry (Fig. 1).

The conference ended with a field trip to coastal cliff exposures in the Ardrossan – Pine Point area, eastern Yorke Peninsula. The influence of landscape position, variation in geology and regolith processes on the geochemical dispersion of metals was demonstrated by Steve Hill (GSSA) and related to interpretation of results of extensive geochemical sampling of surface soils and vegetation.

The conference attracted 27 regolith scientists from across Australia including Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, Geological Survey of Western Australia, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, University of Canberra, Australian National University, Monash University, Macquarie University and University of South Australia.

Background

The Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association Inc. is a not-for-profit learned association of regolith practitioners throughout Australia, whose members promote developments and applications in regolith geoscience across various allied disciplines including geology, geochemistry, geophysics, pedology, biology, hydrology, meteorology, agronomy and forestry.

GSSA is represented on the committee – Carmen Krapf (President), John Keeling (Treasurer) and Anna Petts (member).

Download the proceedings (11 MB)

– Anna Petts, Carmen Krapf and John Keeling

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