Crustal architecture of the Thomson Orogen in Queensland inferred from potential field forward modelling

G P T Spampinato, L Ailleres, P G Betts, R J Armit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The basement rocks of the poorly understood Thomson Orogen are concealed by mid-Paleozoic to Upper Cretaceous intra-continental basins and direct information about the orogen is gleaned from sparse geological data. Constrained potential field forward modelling has been undertaken to highlight key features and resolve deeply sourced anomalies within the Thomson Orogen. The Thomson Orogen is characterised by long-wavelength and low-amplitude geophysical anomalies when compared with the northern and western Precambrian terranes of the Australian continent. Prominent NE- and NW-trending gravity anomalies reflect the fault architecture of the region. High-intensity Bouguer gravity anomalies correlate with shallow basement rocks. Bouguer gravity anomalies below -300 μm/s2 define the distribution of the Devonian Adavale Basin and associated troughs. The magnetic grid shows smooth textures, punctuated by short-wavelength, high-intensity anomalies that indicate magnetic contribution at different crustal levels. It is interpreted that meta-sedimentary basement rocks of the Thomson Orogen, intersected in several drill holes, are representative of a seismically non-reflective and non-magnetic upper basement. Short-wavelength, high-intensity magnetic source bodies and colocated negative Bouguer gravity responses are interpreted to represent shallow granitic intrusions. Long-wavelength magnetic anomalies are inferred to reflect the topography of a seismically reflective and magnetic lower basement. Potential field forward modelling indicates that the Thomson Orogen might be a single terrane. We interpret that the lower basement consists of attenuated Precambrian and mafic enriched continental crust, which differs from the oceanic crust of the Lachlan Orogen further south.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-603
Number of pages23
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • basement setting
  • forward modelling
  • gravity
  • Lachlan Orogen
  • magnetics
  • Phanerozoic Australia
  • Thomson Orogen

Cite this