GSQ Mapping in the Bowen-Mackay Region


21 Mar 2023


Joshua Spence


Recent GSQ mapping in the Bowen-Mackay Region

The Connors-Auburn Province in eastern Queensland is a gold and silver rich volcanic arc bounded by the hydrocarbon-rich Bowen Basin to the west and the volcanic-dominated Campwyn Subprovince and Whitsunday Province to the east (Figure 1). Understanding the distribution of rocks and cover, structures and the 3D architecture serves to constrain areas of economic interest as well as provide broader contributions to the interpretations of geology in the region.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Surface geology map covering 1:100,000 sheets between Bowen and Mackay. Recent field work has focussed in the Calen and Proserpine map sheets. Only major faults are shown. The inset maps show the location relative to queensland and the correspoinding tectonic domains between Bowen and Mackay; Bowen Basin, Connors-Auburn Province, Yarrol Province and Whitsunday Province.

Between Mackay and Bowen, the earliest government geological observations in the area were in 1889 by Maitland and 1903 by Cameron. The earliest detailed mapping covering the 1:250,000 Mackay and Proserpine map sheets was undertaken in 1966 by Jensen et al. and 1971 by Paine. Since then, mapping has been undertaken in these areas with the periodic completion of 1:100,000 scale map sheets. The goal of this mapping has aimed to identify and improve the accuracy of structures, mineral occurrences and rock and cover distribution at the surface (surface geology) and with depth (solid geology and cross sections). Perhaps inevitably due to different geologists with different approaches during different time periods mapping across these map sheets, some mapping programs have resulted in geological interpretations differing across the edges of map sheets (Figure 2). Recent mapping in the area (Figure 1 and 3) has sought to resolve these inconsistencies (Figure 1).

Figure 2
Figure 2: Example of mismatching interpretations across the boundaries of the Calen and Proserpine 1:100,000 map sheets.


Figure 3
Figure 3: a) Investigating the foliated, late Carboniferous Starvation Creek Complex in the mountains west of Calen and the Cathu State Forest. b) Photo of the ~ 33Ma Mount Jukes Granite. This granite forms part of one of the world’s longest continental hot spot chains at ~ 2000km long (Davies et al., 2015).

Some of the recent mapping by the GSQ has specifically focussed on producing seamless surface and solid geology interpretations between Bowen and Mackay by addressing inconsistent interpretations across map sheets (Figure 2). The opportunity has also been used to contribute to the ongoing detailed solid geology (Figure 1) coverage of Queensland and construct cross-sections (Figure 1) reviewing the geological architecture in the region.

For more details or if you have any questions, please contact Joshua Spence.


Cameron, W.E., 1903. Additions to the Geology of the Mackay and Bowen Districts. Geol. Surv. Qld Publ. 181.

Davies, D.R., Rawlinson, N., Iaffaldano, G., Campbell, I.H., 2015. Lithospheric controls on magma composition along Earth’s longest continental hotspot track. Nature 525, 511–514.

Jensen, A.R., Gregory, C.M. and Forbes, V.R., 1966. Geology of the Mackay 1: 250,000 Sheet Area Queensland (Vol. 104). Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics.

Maitland, A.G., 1889. Geological features and mineral resources of the Mackay district. Geol. Surv. Qld Publ. 53.

Paine, A., 1972. Proserpine, Queensland. Bureau of Mineral Resources 1: 250,000 Geological Series Explanatory Notes SF/55, 4.

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