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Open File Report 2

Classification and atlas of regolith-landform mapping units - exploration perspectives for the Yilgarn Craton

Anand, R.R., Churchward, H.M., Smith, R.E., Smith, K., Gozzard, J.R., Craig, M.A. and Munday, T.J.

For geochemical exploration, regolith units form the dominant sampling media in the initial stages of most programs. However, the regolith evolves in a complex fashion which results in a wide variety of regolith types at any particular site. Some of these are more appropriate for sampling than others. It is therefore important to have an understanding of the regolith in the region of interest in order to be able to devise effective sampling strategies and to interpret the geochemical data sensibly.

The classification scheme and atlas which is described in this report has been constructed with the explorationists in mind. The scheme and atlas should assist in the mapping of regolith-landform associations and subsequent selection of the sampling media. It also provides a standardized mode of description and classification of the diverse range of regolith-landform associations on the Yilgarn Craton. Such a standardized mode of description should allow mapping units from one region of the Yilgarn Craton to be compared with those from another region. These comparisons are particularly relevant when considering geochemical thresholds for different areas and in establishing the significance of geochemical anomalies.

The proposed classification and atlas is based on the examination of regolith-landform settings in a series of orientation districts across the Yilgarn Craton. The scheme is expandable, hierarchical and mnemonic. The results presented here form the basis of continuing work and are presented in a loose-leaf format so that findings from other areas can be incorporated.

The classification tables contain information on regolith-landform regimes, landforms and regolith materials. The latter are arranged vertically in order of regolith stratigraphy. Hierarchical mnemonic alpha-numeric codes are provided for all the designated regolith-landform mapping units. A system of map symbols for regolith-landform mapping units is proposed. Examples of coded maps from several orientation districts are presented.

Representative photographs of regolith materials and their positions in the landscape with accompanying descriptions (including geochemical data where available) are given in the atlas. The photos and data are arranged in the same order as those of classification tables. The codes provide link between the classification tables, and the photographs and their descriptions. The atlas should help exploration geologists, geochemists and geophysicists in recognising the nature of the regolith materials being mapped or sampled.

Future collaboration between Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO), Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA), and Curtin University will link this atlas and its incorporated concepts, with regolith-landform mapping units for other regions of Australia.


Mapping methods, regolith stratigraphy, genetic regolith maps, regolith-landform models, classification tables, atlas, Lawlers, Mt Gibson, Mt McClure, landform, lateritic family, lag, soil, weathering profile, substrate, transported overburden, Bottle Creek, Wombola, lateritic nodule, lateritic pisolith, Bardoc, Lady Evelyn, Madoonga, lateritic duricrust, ferruginous saprolite, mottled saprolite, Fe-rich duricrust, Cawse Find, iron segregation, ferruginous granule, pisolith, sandy clay, lateritic residuum, calcareous soil, alluvium, , Mt Hope, mega-mottle, Black Flag, saprolite, ferruginous bedrock, glossary, dune, erosional regime, ferruginous granule, hardened mottle. Mottled zone, pediment, colluvium, playa, regolith unit, residual regime, stripped slope.

Last updated: Friday, December 24, 1999 10:43 AM


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