RESEARCH conducted into the analysis of sedimentary basins by a University of Sydney-led group will aim to create five-dimensional models basin models, the University has announced.

The Basin GENESIS Hub, led by the University’s School of Geosciences, will use big data sets and exponentially increased computing power to model the interaction between processes on the earth’s surface and deep below it.

The program, which received $5.4 million in funding over five years from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and industry partners this year, will incorporate data from multiple sources to create models which combine three-dimensional space with the extra dimensions of time and estimates of uncertainty.

Hub director Professor Dietmar Müller said the research would be used by exploration and mining companies as well as the geo-software industry.

“The outcomes will be especially important for identifying exploration targets in deep basins in remote regions of Australia,” he said.

“It will create a new ‘exploration geodynamics’ toolbox for industry to improve estimates of what resources might be found in individual basins.”

The previous approach to analysing sedimentary basins had been based on interpreting geological data and two dimensional models, Dr Müller said.

“We apply infinitely more computing power to enhance our understanding of sedimentary basins as the product of the complex interplay between surface and deep Earth processes,” he said.

Key geographical areas the research will focus on are the North-West Shelf of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean continental margins.

Other partners of the Basin GENESIS Hub are the University of Melbourne Geodynamics group, Curtin University’s Petroleum Group, CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering, National ICT Australia (NICTA), Geoscience Australia, the California Institute of Technology, and five national and international industry partners.