Science takes to the sky in south west Victoria

New technology allows Victorian geologists to get a better picture of potential gas sources.

About 300 years ago, it is said that Sir Isaac Newton uncovered the theory of gravity while watching an apple fall from a tree. Fast forward to National Science Week 2018 and Newton’s theory of gravity is helping Victorian scientists assess the potential for further underground gas sources.

In what is considered one of Victoria’s largest science projects, aircraft carrying highly-sensitive gravity measuring technology are taking off from Warrnambool airport. The purpose is to collect geology data across 16,000 square kilometres over the Otway Basin.

The in-flight technology will measure precise variations in the Earth's natural gravity field. These variations allow geologists to learn more about the distribution and shape of rock formations deep within the earth – beneath the land and seabed – to refine 3D geological models of the Otway Basin.

Vitally, such discoveries will allow the Victorian Gas Program to assess the potential for onshore and offshore gas resources.

Victorian Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda CaplesAlong with local school children, Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, took the opportunity recently during National Science Week to visit Warrnambool Airport to inspect the planes and equipment as well as to meet the pilots.

This was one of over 2000 such events and activities that occurred around the country during the week.

“The Victorian Gas Program is one of the biggest science projects currently underway in Victoria so it’s great to see a key element take off during National Science Week,” said Dr Caples.

“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.”

“It’s great to have some children here from Warrnambool’s Emmanuel College so they can see a large science project not just in their backyard but over their heads.”

Learn more about the Victorian Gas Program, and read about Victoria’s lead scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, who is currently overseeing the onshore studies component of the project.