Exploration of Precious Opal: A Mineral System Approach

Date & time

12.30–1.30pm 8 December 2017


Ringwood Room, J4, RSES


Kurt Steffens (University of Sydney)


 Michael Anenburg

Australia produces over 90% of all precious opal found on Earth. The most substantial deposits with the highest economic potential come from within the Great Artesian Basin (GAB). The lack of understanding of essential opal formation processes is severely hindering industry exploration. The opal mining industry requires new exploration methods that incorporate an understanding of opal genesis to identify and develop new opal mining fields. Recent advances in research regarding opal genesis have provided an opportunity to apply exploration-targeting criteria based on a newly proposed formation model. The mineral system concept has been applied to the Redox Front model of opal formation to target critical processes essential to opal genesis. Exploration workflows have been further developed for critical processes in the opal mineral system and applied at nested scales using only open-source software and open-access data.

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