Finding fractures in the Outback
They are ancient sandstone shapes, located slap bang in the middle of the outback in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Slowly but steadily, because of heavy rains and extreme weather, the rocks eroded and gave rise to these dramatic shapes.
He was accompanied by his colleagues of TU Delft: Jan Kees Blom, Giovanni Bertotti and master student Nassar Pragt.
The team, called NT-Work, was sponsored by the Dr Schürmannfonds Foundation.
The McArthur Basin
The detailed structure of that basin is poorly understood. "The structural history is very incomplete as it did not receive much attention due to it's remote location."
Network of cracks
The team wondered: when were these fractures formed? Do these fractures intersect and hence, are they connected?
Why exactly are fractures so interesting from
a geologist's perspective? Bruna explains.
"Fractures can make a rock more permeable, which allows fluids to flow through the rocks. Looking at fractures thus tell us a lot about how such a fluid would flow, whether it's water, like rainwater or groundwater, or potential hydrocarbons in the subsurface."
"It's really hard to collect data about how fractures at depth are organised, because, well.. we can't just go underground and take a look. So we have to somehow derive information from the parts of the rock we actually can see with the naked eye!"
drone & 3D model
"The pictures of the drone are actually bridging the gap between what we ourselves can do on the ground with manual field techniques, and high-altitude remote sensing methods."
"This model gives us so many detailed information that we could never have measured on the spot or obtained otherwise!"
The team used a method called phtogrammetry to align all photos and stich them together in the right georeferenced way. Then they could reconstruct the topography of the area.
"....we can even simulate flying over the area once more, using our very own 3D model!"
into the wild
Into the wild
"We had anticipated to find a camp site and a fuel station in a place called Roper Bar. We arrived at 4:00 pm at a station that seemed unchanged since the end of WWII. But everything turned out to be shut down. So we took a dirt road to the next station an hour away, only to find that station had closed 3 hours earlier. Completely unplanned, we were forced to set up camp and wait for it to open at 9:00 in the morning."
"It was quite a challenge to get the petrol into the car, tough. We actually had to cut one of our drinking bottles to be able to pour in the fuel without spilling it all."
Ranger to the rescue
"Besides her official tasks, she dedicates a lot of her time to living remotely with repairs and maintenance on all kinds of vehicles, small engine power tools, water and power utilities. She really helped us out!"
- Dr Schürmannfonds for sponsoring the research
- The geologists from the NTGS
(Northern Territory Geological Survey)
- The Northern Territory Government
(Aboriginal Area Protection Authority and the Rangers from the Nathan River Station)
- The Pastoral tenants and owners of the Broadmere station, Carpentaria Station and McArthur River station
- And all the friendly and helpful “Territorians” we met during our trip
entering the area
The story of the ranger
The story of the ranger
We are a kind of jack-of-all-trades of the bush. To me, being park ranger really is the best job in the world, in the best possible "office"!
My main role is land management for this 12,000 square km park. I look after visitor infrastructure such as driving tracks and walking trails. I maintain facilities and assist in case of emergencies.
I conduct or participate in biodiversity surveys to try and protect native species as much as possible, and also take part in water and fish monitoring projects, or geology studies.
And we manage fire on park, like fighting wildfires, or more likely strategically burning at the appropriate time of the year to create a mosaic of burned landscape to protect infrastructure and fire-sensitive vegetation areas in the process. "