Deep-dive projects Officer–Musgrave

Outback landscape with trees in the distance

This project is investigating the groundwater and energy potential of the Officer Basin and neighbouring Musgrave Province near the junction of South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The central deserts of Australia represent a vast tract of Australia’s arid interior spanning Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Recent studies in the region revealed pockets of potable groundwater in ancient, buried river valleys (palaeovalleys). 

The Officer–Musgrave project is establishing the extent and characteristics of these palaeovalleys, to enable sustainable management of the groundwater resources. This potential new source of water could be transformative for communities in the region, which currently rely on unpredictable, hard-rock aquifers.

Geoscience Australia is providing new data to improve the geological knowledge of the Officer Basin and its geological constraints. The project is also filling knowledge gaps in the energy potential of this under-explored region through reanalysis of new and legacy pre-competitive geoscience datasets.

Due to the complexity of this image and the niche scientific target audience, no alternative description has been provided. Please email Geoscience Australia at for an alternative description.


What we are doing

The project incorporates a number of study areas and proposed activities, including:


Close-up of young aboriginal people sitting around a table together outdoors in the sun in Australia.

Geoscience Knowledge Sharing

Important community information

All data produced by Geoscience Australia, including the data from this project, will be made publicly available. We will work with communities to return the data in a useful format, through the Geoscience Knowledge Sharing project.

Acquisition activities are not being undertaken on behalf of any exploration companies. All Geoscience Australia staff and contractors will comply with Geoscience Australia’s COVID-19 protocols, available upon request.


Current program

The current Exploring for the Future program (2020–24) focuses on 8 interrelated projects, united in growing our understanding of Australia's geology.

Three deep-dive projects in potentially resource-rich corridors identified in the east and west of Australia: Darling–Curnamona–Delamerian, Officer–Musgrave and Barkly–Isa–Georgetown projects. 

Three national projects with a focus on southern Australia: Australia’s Resources Framework, National Groundwater Systems and Australia’s Future Energy Resources projects.

Program support
Two program support projects: Enhanced Data Delivery and Geoscience Knowledge Sharing projects.