Assessing uncertainty in the integration of aeromagnetic data and structural observations in the Deering Hills region of the Musgrave Province

A. R A Aitken*, P. G. Betts, B. F. Schaefer, S. E. Rye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Integrated aeromagnetic and field-based structural analysis provides a method for establishing a constrained regional-scale tectonic model where insufficient outcrop, remoteness or restricted access precludes widespread structural mapping. In this method the different scales of observation lead to uncertainty in integrating the observations. An integrated analysis of the Deering Hills region of the Musgrave Province shows that this uncertainty is largely dependent on the magnetic data resolution, the scale of deformation, and mineralogy. In the Deering Hills, four deformation events are defined, each with different structural character. These differences in character result in different levels of uncertainty in integrating these observations with aeromagnetic data. D1 was only evident at small scales in outcrop, and therefore any correlation with aeromagnetic data is inherently uncertain. However, well-defined relative timing to D2, and the parallel nature of an S1 foliation and regional D1 structures identified in the aeromagnetic data permitted the derivation of a moderately reliable regional model indicating northwest to southeast directed shortening at a deep crustal level during the Musgravian Orogeny. This resulted in a pervasive gneissic foliation, and a regional array of northeast-trending reverse-shear zones and tight to isoclinal upright folds. A higher confidence regional model was derived for the second deformation event (D2), which was identified at the regional scale in outcrop and could be directly correlated with features in the aeromagnetic data. North-south-directed crustal shortening, either in the late Musgravian Orogeny or during deformation ca 1060 Ma resulting in east-southeast- and southeast-trending reverse- and dextral-reverse shear zones and southeast-trending recumbent isoclinal nappes. For the third and fourth deformation events, links could not be made between field observations and aeromagnetic data, and the regional models for these events are low in confidence. The regional setting of D3 is not defined, and D4 is interpreted to represent the development of shear zones during north-south compression in the Petermann Orogeny.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1138
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Aeromagnetic interpretation
  • Deering Hills
  • Musgrave Province
  • Structural geology


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