National Virtual Core Library (NVCL) Building a mineralogy database of Australia
Click here to visit the AuScope Discovery Portal where NVCL data sits with GIS.
Imagine an online library filled with mineralogy logs for, and imagery of more than one million metres drill core from all around Australia— a treasure trove for geoscientists to better understand the nation’s geology, and identify parts of it which might be most prospective for mineral deposits.
Our NVCL tools, or Hylogger mineral scanning systems, are located in each of the state and territory geological surveys around the country. Staff at these agencies operate equipment, upload data to the AuScope Discovery Portal for open access.
Six CSIRO-developed HyLogging systems (combining visible and infrared reflectance spectroscopy, robotics, materials-handling and automated mineralogical interpretation) are 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 current HyLogger-3 generation instruments are configured to recognise oxide and rare earth elements, hydrous silicates (including clays), and anhydrous minerals and mineral groups.
The Spectral Geologist (TSG) Software
The HyLoggers are supported by Australian-developed software known as TSG 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 are stored in web-accessible relational databases
Copies of the processed TSG drill-hole files are also be available upon application to each Survey NVCL custodian. An early demonstration web site is available at NVCL CSIRO.
Hylogger staff run regular workshops across Australia to educate geoscientists about how to benefit from NVCL in research, mining and minerals exploration. Find the next one in your state.
Using the HyLoggers, in excess of 1,000,000 metres of drill core from over a 3,000 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, students and academic researchers, industry researchers and explorers.
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 has, in particular, continued to lead to new research outcomes, opportunities and take-up.
The co-registered imaging and integrated wavelengths of the HyLogging Systems make them globally unique and has led to overseas interest and the deployment of a system at the University in Chile in Santiago. Earlier model HyLogging Systems are also to be found in Geological Surveys and commercial laboratories in Mexico, China, South Africa and Australia.