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Open File Report 158

Teilta regolith project: Groundwater geochemistry

P. de Caritat & D. Kirste

The groundwaters from the Teilta 1:100,000 mapsheet area were sampled and analysed with the aim of studying the processes that affect their composition, in a bid to further develop hydrogeochemistry as a tool for mineral exploration in areas of regolith cover. Those groundwaters are quite distinct in hydrogeochemical character from most of the other groundwaters studied in the Curnamona Province. They are Na-HCO3 rich, warm and may be quite reducing. They are particularly depleted in SO4, which tends to have an average to high ?34S composition. We interpret this to be a reflection of the incursion of Great Artesian Basin groundwaters at the northern end of the regional study area. These waters have undergone bacterial sulfate reduction (BSR). The combined effect of BSR is to make the waters look ‘less interesting’ from a mineral exploration perspective (lower excess S, and higher S isotopic ratio). The lesson for mineral exploration is that less stringent selection criteria (lower Relative S excess, higher S isotopic composition of dissolved SO4 cutoffs) should be applied to groundwaters that have been affected by BSR, when trying to identify those that indicate interaction by sulfide mineralisation under cover. Even despite this, a few groundwater compositions suggest proximity to mineralisation, using the indicators developed in Caritat et al. (in press).



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