Multiple-scale lithosphere imaging of Australia and East Asia with a focus on West Australia

This project was a continuation project of last year, "“Understanding continental lithosphere, its architecture and connection to surface mineral systems”. The aim of 2018 was two-fold: 1 to produce continental-scale seismic velocity models of major continents (Australian and East Asian) to better understand the Earth structure and its evolution in general; and 2 to conduct high-resolution structural models of the crust and lithosphere in key regions in Western Australia, with an intended focus on mapping key mineral system elements such as fluid/metal source zones and migration paths. These related seismic models have direct impact in understanding mineral systems by directly mapping various components of the system: deep penetrating faults, suture zones. These features have important controls on the movement of metal-carrying magmas and brines in a variety of mineral systems. High resolution models of the continental crustal and lithosphere at various tectonic settings will also shed light onto better understanding the formation and subsequent evolution of continent crust through time. The first task of the project (continental scale tomographic modeling) did not go well as planned, due to funding issues with the related projects. The DP proposal supported by this imaging task was not funded, which put the imaging task on hold, and resulted in less spent of the allocated CPU hours (~50% of the annual allocation). On the other hand, the second task (imaging in WA) went really well. The successful application of Magnus-supported modeling codes in the Capricorn region of Western Australia has resulted in 3 peer-reviewed publications in 2018 (see Publications below). The Pawsey supercomputing centre was properly acknowledged in the papers. The method was also applied to few other regions in the Canning basin, the Perth Basin in WA, as well as several cross-sections in China in collaborative projects with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Very promising results emerged from the preliminary models and the initial models were presented at both domestic and international conferences. These preliminary models are expected to be finalized in 2019 and we are looking for few more publications, thanks to the supercomputing support allocated for Year 2019 from the Pawsey centre!

Principal investigator

Huaiyu Yuan
Magnifying glass

Area of science


Systems used


Applications used

Partner Institution: The University of Western Australia| Project Code: pawey0112

The Challenge

The unfunded DP proposal had resulted in a halt on the first computing task, leading to much less spend of the allocated resources. Some of these CPU hours were shifted to the second imaging task

The Solution

This year’s allocation however may not be enough, if the DP-like proposal gets funded that will get the continental scale imaging back online. This would take a lot of resources – for example, one such run would use up nearly the annual allocation for the account.

The Outcome

Three peer-reviewed publications with the center acknowledged; see Project Overview above.

Nine meeting presentations (talks and posters) were presented at both international and domestic meetings.

The Pawsey Magnus provided the irreplaceable computing solution to obtain the seismic models published in these papers.

List of Publications

Three Peer-reviewed papers:
H Yuan, T Bodin, A Probabilistic Shear Wave Velocity Model of the Crust in the Central West Australian Craton Constrained by Transdimensional Inversion of Ambient Noise Dispersion, Tectonics 37, 1994-2012, 2018

M Dentith, H Yuan, S Johnson, R Murdie, P Piña-Varas, Application of deep-penetrating geophysical methods to mineral exploration: Examples from Western Australia, Geophysics 83 (3), WC29-WC41, 2018

M Dentith, H Yuan, RE Murdie, P Pina‐Varas, SP Johnson, K Gessner, Improved Interpretation of Deep Seismic Reflection Data in Areas of Complex Geology Through Integration With Passive Seismic Data Sets, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2018

Nine Meeting abstracts
Yuan H and the CWAS Team (2018), Crustal structure beneath coastal NW Australia: seismic signature from pale0-collision to modern rifting, Tethys Dynamics Workshop, Beijing 8-9 Oct.

Gessner K, R Murdie, H Yuan and L Zhao (2018), Spatial variations in crustal structure and shear wave velocity across the Canning Basin, NW Australia Abstract T33C-3764, presented at 2018 Fall Meeting, AGU, Washington, D.C., 10-14 Dec.

Yuan H, R Murdie, M Dentith, S Johnson, K Gessner, and Y Lu (2018), Insights into changes in crust formation mechanisms across the Archean-Proterozoic Transition: Receiver function observations in the Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia, Abstract T33C-3765, presented at 2018 Fall Meeting, AGU, Washington, D.C., 10-14 Dec.

Wang K, T Li, L Yuan, X Xu, L Zhao H Yuan and T Bodin (2018), Lithospheric Structure Underneath the Ordos Block of the North China Craton, Revisited Using Transdimensional Inversion of Ambient Noise and Surface Wave Dispersion, Abstract SE19-A020, 15th AOGS Annual Meeting, Honolulu, 3-8 June

Murdie R, H Yuan, K Gessner, K Wang, T Li, and X Xu(2018), Crustal Structure of the Canning Basin, NW Australia: Preliminary Results, Abstract SE19-A028, 15th AOGS Annual Meeting, Honolulu, 3-8 June

Xu X, L Zhao, H Yuan, S Johnson, M Dentith, R Murdier, K Gessner, F Korhonen, and P Varas (2018), Finite-Frequency P Wave Tomography of the Upper Mantle Beneath Capricorn Orogen and Adjacent Areas, Abstract SE19-A029, 15th AOGS Annual Meeting, Honolulu, 3-8 June

Yuan H, M Dentith, P Varas, S Johnson, R Murdie, K Gessner, and F Korhonen (2018) Crustal Velocity Structure of the Paloproterozoic Capricorn Orogen in the West Australian Craton, Abstract SE19-A031, 15th AOGS Annual Meeting, Honolulu, 3-8 June

Lin X, Yuan H, Dentith M, Murdie R, Gessner K (2018) Whole crustal structure revealed by the Perth Basin Seismic (PBS) Array, AGCC Poster, Adelaide Oct 15

Yuan H, Lu Y, Murdie R, Dentith M, Johnson S, Gessner K (2018) Insights into changes in crust formation processes at the Archean-Proterozoic Transition from receiver functions: Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia,AGCC Poster, Adelaide Oct 15