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15 Aug 2018

Big Science Project takes Flight over South West

An airborne gravity survey has begun over south west Victoria as part of the Victorian Gas Program’s geoscientific studies into the potential for new gas discoveries.

From this week through to October, two small fixed-wing aircraft carrying highly sensitive gravity measuring technology will be deployed over the Otway Basin, collecting data on the geology beneath us.

Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, has taken the opportunity in National Science Week to visit Warrnambool Airport today to inspect the planes, view the equipment (known as Einstein) and meet the pilots.

Depending on weather conditions, the planes will fly seven days a week during daylight hours mapping nearly 16,000 square kilometres over the council areas of Colac Otway, Corangamite, Moyne, Warrnambool, Southern Grampians and Glenelg and up to 18 kilometres offshore.

Why measure gravity? Denser rocks have a slightly stronger gravitational force than less dense rock, this provides clues to the distribution and shape of rock structures deep within the earth.

The survey will help refine 3D geological models of the Otway Basin to assist scientists to better understand the potential for onshore conventional gas and offshore gas exploration.

The Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV) has contracted CGG Aviation (Australia) Pty Ltd to conduct the survey.

Extracting gas via fracking is banned in Victoria and there is a moratorium on new onshore conventional gas exploration and development until mid-2020.

More information about the survey is available at

Quotes to be attributed to Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples

“The Victorian Gas Program is one of the biggest science projects currently underway in Victoria so it’s great to be here during National Science Week.”

“We believe the Otway Basin to have a high potential for further discoveries of gas, the research underway will help to build a better scientific picture of potential gas resources.”

Quotes to be attributed to the Director of the Geological Survey of Victoria Paul McDonald

“We have lots of activities underway in south west Victoria – as well as the airborne gravity survey we are investigating the potential for additional underground gas storage and encouraging offshore exploration through a tender process.”

Contact: Lewis Hill

Phone: 03 8392 6735