Project activity AusArray

The Australian Passive Seismic Array Project (AusArray) is a collaborative, national survey between government and academia that acquires seismic velocity data.

The project activity started in 2016 through the Exploring for the Future program and continues through the support of the State and Territory Geological Surveys and academia.

The movable array consists of 200 broadband seismic stations, arranged in a grid pattern, spaced ~200 km apart, and complemented by 15 semi-permanent higher sensitivity broadband seismic stations. These stations measure small natural vibrations that travel through the Earth caused by local and distant earthquakes, waves breaking on the shore and even wind. This data helps scientists to understand the velocity distribution and based on that the composition of rocks beneath the ground.

AusArray focuses on creation of updatable 3D model of the sub-surface velocity variations. This model constrains local and regional Earth structure useful for the assessment of resource potential and natural hazards.

Location of AusArray seismic stations

Location of AusArray seismic stations

Key outcomes in the Northern Australia region between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa covered in the previous Exploring for the Future program activities include:

  • improved national 3D velocity models of the Australian plate focused on northern Australia
  • higher resolution 3D seismic models in areas covered by the transportable array from which physical properties of the lithosphere can be inferred from depths of a few metres to hundreds of kilometres.

To run the Array, 130 broadband seismometers were deployed, spaced ~55 km apart, in 2 adjoin areas in grid pattern for a period of one year each. Twelve higher sensitivity stations are deployed to supplement the national network and run continuously.

An image of a seismometer site in Queensland.

An image of a seismometer site in Queensland.


AusArray is a collaboration initiated by academia with support from ANSIR and AuScope. Geoscience Australia leads and funds this project activity in collaboration with State and Territory Geological Surveys, universities, particularly the Australian National University (ANU), Macquarie University and University of Tasmania and other research organisations.

Legacy AusArray data has been kindly supplied to Geoscience Australia by researchers through the repository of legacy academia AusArray data housed by the Research School of Earth Sciences at the ANU.