EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

          WA array: the next state-wide passive seismic survey

Ruth Murdie, Huaiyu Yuan, John Paul O'Donnell, Subhash Chandra, and Simon Johnson
Ruth Murdie et al.
  • Government of Western Australia, Geological Survey of Western Australia, Perth, Australia (

The Government of Western Australia, through the Geological Survey of Western Australia, is funding a passive seismic acquisition  program, WA array, which has been designed to map Earth’s lithosphere at an optimal level of station spacing across the state of WA (over 2.5 million square kilometres).

The program, which started on 1 July 2022 will involve the deployment of an “array” of 165 seismometers arranged in a grid pattern spaced at 40 kilometre intervals, moving progressively across the state over a period of ten years. Instruments will be relocated on an annual basis across nine regional areas.

It is primarily designed to investigate the crustal and lithospheric mantle structure with the aim of identifying prospective regions for mineral exploration, especially in areas undercover. At the continental scale, the large lithospheric models will target the bulk lithospheric velocities and upper mantle discontinuities, which will provide direct information to better constrain tectonic deformation processes that operated through time. From the Archean nuclei to the Phanerozoic passive margins, WA is composed of many domains with a rich tectonic history; thus WA array will also provide an unprecedented opportunity to study lithospheric structure related to early Earth tectonics, Earth evolution and the Earth today.

The results of the program will step change in our understanding of Western Australia’s lithospheric architecture. This knowledge will provide a sound scientific basis for mineral and energy exploration, but also for evaluating crucial land use decisions over the coming decades, at a time when large areas of the State are expected to accommodate renewable energy projects.

In addition, the data will be used to evaluate the risks from seismic events, which would contribute to risk assessments for the placement industrial infrastructure such as pipelines and hydrogen generation and storage installations as well as building codes for housing and other buildings.

The first deployment of stations is now in the ground with 158 stations currently running. The first results and raw data will become available at the end of 2024. We will present and discuss the design of the array, initial modelling status and model updates, and related program applications.

How to cite: Murdie, R., Yuan, H., O'Donnell, J. P., Chandra, S., and Johnson, S.:           WA array: the next state-wide passive seismic survey, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-10584,, 2023.