National Virtual Core Library (NVCL)


The NVCL Component created new globally unique hardware and software infrastructure for the voluminous mineralogical scanning of archived drill cores around the Australian continent. Its purpose was to improve the understanding of the geological composition of the top two kilometres of the continent’s crust. Seven CSIRO-developed HyLogging systems (combining visible and infrared reflectance spectroscopy, robotics, materials-handling and automated mineralogical interpretation) were installed in each of the State and Territory geological surveys and are operated by survey staff to build internal and web-accessible databases for public interrogation to facilitate research. The HyLoggers were initially configured for oxide and hydrous silicate mineral characterisation (HyLogger-2s) and were then upgraded during a second phase to include anhydrous silicates (HyLogger-3s).

The HyLoggers are supported by Australian-developed software known as TGS-Core ( for the processing, analysis, visualisation and generation of information products comprising a part of the knowledge infrastructure and the basis of the ensuing research. Virtual semi-quantitative descriptions (geocoded digital tables, graphs and multiple resolution images) of the mineralogical composition of drill cores and drill chips will be stored in web-accessible relational databases. Copies of the processed TSG drill-hole files will also be available upon application to each Survey NVCL custodian. A demonstration web site is available at

Example of a mineralogical log derived from the HyLogging process for drill hole MJ021 from Mt Julia, Tasmania. Plot shows the proportion of the specified mineral samples per 2 metre interval.

Using the Hyloggers, in excess of 690,000 metres of drill core from over a 2,340 drill holes has been scanned to date across the seven Survey jurisdictions and the data made available through the AuScope project. The infrastructure has been successfully deployed and is being used operationally and routinely in all survey jurisdictions resulting in new geological knowledge that is being documented and used by each survey, industry and researchers.

Following successful establishment of the infrastructure, six geological surveys have continued to fund the maintenance and operations of the NVCL infrastructure, publish results, and train staff with support from the CSIRO. This contribution from jurisdictions is significant because the infrastructure is a new innovation system and each NVCL node requires on average 2.5 people for the operation of the equipment; instrument operators, interpreting geologists, IT specialists and managers. The total cost of these operations in 2012/13 averaged $286,000 per Survey per annum and $1,757,000 across all Surveys per annum. As the value of more detailed geological knowledge from drilling accrues both within the Geological Surveys and externally, the number of second generation users is increasing, including the number of student projects. The deployment of the unique thermal infrared, anhydrous mineral capability towards the end of the project has, in particular, continued to lead to new research outcomes, opportunities and take-up.

Future Usage

The uniqueness of AuScope NVCL hardware and software infrastructure, coupled with the exposure afforded by seven distributed operating nodes around the continent, has drawn considerable interest from overseas and the private sector.

The systems are supported and operated by the State Geological Surveys with some support from CSIRO and will continue to build and develop the data infrastructure over time. Nevertheless the currently available resources are not entirely sufficient to build the online content for NVCL, which is reliant on retrieving and scanning a very considerable backlog of archived drill core.

For more information on current and potential projects or accessing AuScopes National Virtual Core Library infrastructure component please contact Project Leader Dr. Carsten Laukamp.

Meritorious student projects utilising the infrastructure, or the collected data, are strongly encouraged.

State NVCL Node Contacts

NSW – David Tilley

Queensland – Suraj Gopalakrishnan

Western Australia – Lena Hancock

South Australia – Alan Mauger

Tasmania – David Green

Northern Territory – Belinda Smith

Victoria – Paul McDonald

Peer-Reviewed Publications 

84 citations, web of science, 23.02.2018


Lampinen, H., Laukamp, C., Occhipinti, S., Hardy, L. (submitted): Mineral Footprints of the Paleoproterozoic Sediment-Hosted Abra Pb-Zn-Cu-Au Deposit Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia.- To: Ore Geology Reviews.


Berman, M., Bischof, L., Lagerstrom, R. (2017): A Comparison Between Three Sparse Unmixing Algorithms Using a Large Library of Shortwave Infrared Mineral Spectra.- IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. 55 (6), 3588 – 3610.

Burley, L.L., Barnes, S.J., Mole, D.R., Laukamp, C., Fiorentini, M.L., Le Vaillant, M. (2017): Rapid mineralogical and geochemical characterisation of the Fisher East nickel sulphide prospects, Western Australia, using hyperspectral and pXRF data.- Ore Geology Reviews, 90, 371-387. (1 citation)

Fox, N., Parbhakar-Fox, A., Moltzen, J., Feig, S., Goemann, K., Huntington, J. (2017): Applications of hyperspectral mineralogy for geoenvironmental characterisation.- Mineral Engineering, 107, 63-77. (2 citations)


Arne, D., House, E., Pontual, S., Huntington, J. (2016) Hyperspectral interpretation of selected drill cores from orogenic gold deposits in central Victoria, Australia.- AJES63 (8), 1003-1025. (2 citations)

Ayling, B., Huntington, J., Smith, B., D. Edwards, D., (2016) Hyperspectral logging of middle Cambrian marine sediments with hydrocarbon prospectivity: a case study from the southern Georgina Basin, northern Australia.- AJES63 (8), 1069-1085. (3 citations)

Cracknell, M.J. Jansen, N.H., (2016) National Virtual Core Library HyLogging data and Ni–Co laterites: a mineralogical model for resource exploration, extraction and remediation.- AJES63 (8), 1053-1067. (1 citation)

Cudahy, T. (2016): Mineral Mapping for Exploration: An Australian Journey of Evolving Spectral Sensing Technologies and Industry Collaboration.- Geosciences, 6(4), 52, 48 pages.

Downes, P.M., Tilley, D.B. Fitzherbert, J.A., M.E., (2016) Regional metamorphism and the alteration response of selected Silurian to Devonian mineral systems in the Nymagee area, Central Lachlan Orogen, New South Wales: a HyLogger™ case study.- AJES 63 (8), 1027 – 1052. (2 citations)

Downes, P.M., Blevin, P.L., Armstrong, R., Simpson, C.J., Sherwin, L., Tilley, D.B., Burton, G.R. (2016): Outcomes of the Nymagee mineral system study – an improved understanding of the timing of events and prospectivity of the central Lachlan Orogen.- GSNSW Quarterly Note 147, 1-16. (1 citation)

Duuring, P., Hassan, L., Zelic, M., Gessner, K. (2016): Geochemical and Spectral Footprint of Metamorphosed and Deformed VMS-style Mineralization in the Quinns District, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia.- Economic Geology, 111, 1411-1438. (2 citations)

Hill, A.J., Mauger, A. (2016) HyLogging unconventional petroleum core from the Cooper Basin, South Australia.- AJES 63 (8), 1087-1097. (1 citation)

Huntington, J. (2016) Uncovering the mineralogy of the Australian Continent: the AuScope National Virtual Core Library. A national hyperspectrally derived drill-core archive.- AJES 63 (8), 923-928. (1 citation)

Gordon, G., McAvaney, S., Wade, C. (2016) Spectral characteristics of the Gawler Range Volcanics in drill core Myall Creek RC1.- AJES 63 (8), 973-986. (1 citation)

Green, D., Schodlok, M. C. (2016) Characterisation of carbonate minerals from hyperspectral TIR scanning using features at 14 000 and 11 300 nm.- AJES 63 (8), 951-957. (3 citations)

Mauger, A.J., Ehrig, K., Kontonikas-Charos, A., Ciobanu, C. L., Cook, N. J. Kamenetsky, V. S. (2016) Alteration at the Olympic Dam IOCG–U deposit: insights into distal to proximal feldspar and phyllosilicate chemistry from infrared reflectance spectroscopy.- AJES 63 (8), 959-972. (2 citations)

Schodlok, M. C., Whitbourn, L., Huntington, J., Mason, P., Green, A., Berman, M., Coward, D., Connor, P., Wright, W., Jolivet, J., Martinez, R. (2016) HyLogger-3, a visible to shortwave and thermal infrared reflectance spectrometer system for drill core logging: functional description.- AJES 63 (8), 929-940. (13 citations)

Schodlok, M. C., Green, A., Huntington, J. (2016) A reference library of thermal infrared mineral reflectance spectra for the HyLogger-3 drill core logging system.- AJES 63 (8), 941-949. (4 citations)

Wells, M., Laukamp, C., Hancock, L. (2016): Reflectance spectroscopic characterisation of mineral alteration footprints associated with sediment-hosted gold mineralisation at Mt Olympus (Ashburton Basin, Western Australia).- AJES 63 (8), 987-1002. (2 citations)


Laukamp, C., Salama, W., González-Álvarez, I. (2015): Proximal and remote spectroscopic characterisation of regolith in the Albany-Fraser Orogen (Western Australia).- Ore Geology Reviews, 73 (3), 540-554. (2 citations)

Travers, S.J., Wilson, C.J.L. (2015) Reflectance spectroscopy and alteration assemblages at the Leven Star gold deposit, Victoria, Australia, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 62:7, 873-882 (3 citations)


Olierook, H.K.H., Delle Piane, C., Timms, N.E., Esteban, L., Rezaee, R., Mory, A.J., Hancock, L. (2014): Facies-based rock properties characterization for CO2-Sequestration: GSWA Harvey 1 well, Western Australia.- Marine and Petroleum Geology, 50, 83-102. (14 citations)

Schmid, S., Quigley, M.A. (2014): Fluvial architecture and diagenesis of the Mt Eclipse Sandstone, northern Ngalia Basin, Australia,- AJES 61 (8), 1081-1094. (1 citation)


Farquhar, S.M., Dawson, G.K.W., Esterle, J. S., Golding, S. D. (2013) Mineralogical characterisation of a potential reservoir system for CO2 sequestration in the Surat Basin, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 60:1, 91-110. (10 citations)

Tappert M, Rivard B, Giles D, Tappert R, Mauger A (2013) The mineral chemistry, near-infrared, and mid-infrared reflectance spectroscopy of phengite from the Olympic Dam IOCG deposit, South Australia. Ore Geol Rev 53:26-38 (1 citation)


Tappert, M., Rivard, B., Giles, D., Tappert, R., and Mauger, A. (2011) Automated drill core logging using visible and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy: a case study from the Olympic Dam IOCG deposit, South Australia. 50 51 Economic Geology, 106, 289-296. (14 citations)