Australia's Opal hotspots revealed

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 16, 2013
Adjust font size:

A digital map showing where gem- quality opal is most likely to be found in Australia was released Wednesday by researchers at the University of Sydney.

Using data mining strategies, the team was able to pinpoint a number of new opal hotspots that will help miners concentrate their efforts on previously unexplored areas.

Australia produces over 90 percent of the world's opal. Yet despite being Australia's national gemstone and a favorite with overseas visitors, no new significant discoveries have been made since the early 1900s. Most opal exploration is carried out by individuals hoping to strike it lucky around old opal fields in the Great Artesian Basin, an underground reservoir occupying an area of 1.7 million square kilometers across four Australian states. "Unlike in gold exploration, there are no accepted concepts or methodologies available to guide opal miners where new fields may be found, and there are as many theories as there are opal miners," said Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz, a geologist at the University of Sydney.

The new digital map reduces the likely areas for a good opal find from 1.35 million square kilometers to 0.08 million square kilometers.

Potential rich pickings have been detected along the south- western rim of the Great Artesian Basin in South Australia, in a corridor throughout central Queensland and around Lightning Ridge in NSW.

The researchers say a new opal field was last year discovered southwest of Lightning Ridge in an area indicated on the map as having high opal prosperity, suggesting that other highlighted areas may also promise new finds.

"The Great Artesian Basin's future looks bright and colourful," said Dietmar Mller, professor at the University of Sydney. "Perhaps it's time for me to buy an opal drill rig, take my long service leave and go underground for a while," he joked. Endi

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from