South Australia is situated between the ancient Archaean Shield of Western Australia and the mobile orogenic belts of the eastern states. As a result of this tectonic setting, the geological record in South Australia has preserved a unique history of sedimentation from the Neoproterozoic to Ordovician, and from the Early Devonian to Tertiary.

South Australia has large regions of interpreted high crustal temperature associated with buried Mesoproterozoic granite intrusives at depths over 3 km, and these form important geothermal exploration targets where blanketed by insulating sediments.
Other geothermal energy plays in South Australia include:

  • hydrothermal energy from the Great Artesian Basin
  • residual heat sources in the South East around Australia’s most recently active onshore volcanoes
  • radiogenic iron oxide deposits similar to Olympic Dam and Prominent Hill, which may have even higher heat flow than the granites
  • enhanced natural thermal systems (eg Paralana Hot Springs and associated fracture zone).