Target 2023 Workshop: A practical guide to exploration hydrogeochemistry

DateMonday 24th July 2023
PresentersNathan Reid, Alex Hunt
LocationCSIRO, 26 Dick Perry Ave, Kensington, WA
ConferenceTarget 2023

Hydrogeochemistry has become a tool of interest in regional mineral exploration in Australia for various commodities. CSIRO’s Discovery Program has developed a practical workflow for mineral explorers which goes all the way from sample collection, field data capture (FAIMS mobile app), sample analyses, data handling (QA/QC), and data interpretation and integration. CSIRO has also developed a number of indices and element ratios for mineral exploration using hydrogeochemical data which are able to highlight regions of known and potential mineralisation across Australia. We now have a new tool XT Hydro to make the processing of these indices easier than ever before. A process which was previously time consuming for researchers is now producing faster, and more consistent results. This has also led to the compilation of a continental-scale hydrogeochemical database which provides baselines for many elements/parameters which can be used to put site data into perspective.


This workshop aims to introduce you to the why of hydrogeochemistry:

  • What can it tell you about geology under cover, its strengths and weaknesses
  • Targeting mineral systems at regional and camp scales
  • How to collect consistent samples and the tools we can provide
  • What laboratory analyses are required and at what detection limits
  • How to check your data (QA/QC)
  • How to process data with XT Hydro
  • How to interpret your data within the regional context and tips for targeting

Field Sampling

  • Field gear
  • Sampling and field analyses including FAIMS
  • Discuss pros and cons of different sampling techniques: fast vs slow-and-detailed

Example of bailers (with polychain cable on reel) and a dip probe for water table depth (red reel with metal

probe and measuring tape).

A. Water sample bottles B. Filtration equipment for water sampling, showing (L to R) hand pump, syringe and small filter, Nalgene® filter unit, filter papers, deionised water and another filter unit.

Field Sampling Demo


  • What do you want?
  • Where do you send it?

Lab data integration

  • How do we prepare our data?
  • How do we QA/QC our data?
  • Contamination Factor and Value

XT Hydro

XT Hydro makes years of hydrogeochemistry research available to anyone looking to get the most impact from their hydro data.

  • calculation of hydrogeochemistry describers
  • calculation of element and exploration indices
  • easy mapping of input data (csv/spreadsheets)
  • geospatial visualisation of calculated indices

XT Hydro is currently Open Beta and you can sign up for free at

Reid, Nathan; Hunt, Alex; Thorne, Robert; Hille, John; Plet, Chloe; Noble, Ryan; Pinchand, Tenten; Gray, David (2023): Continental Scale Hydrogeochemical Data Collection. v1. CSIRO. Data Collection.

Data Interpretation

  • How do we visualise the data?
    • Piper diagrams
  • How do we interpret the data?
  • What tools are available?
    • The Geochemist’s Workbench
    • ioGAS

Gypsum Saturation Index (SI) vs. TDS for WA groundwaters, coloured by the defined saturation level.


Cite as:

  • Reid, Nathan; Hunt, Alex. Target 2023 Workshop: A practical guide to exploration hydrogeochemistry. In: Target 2023; 28 to end of 28 Jul 2023; Perth, WA. 6IAS; 2023. 108. csiro:EP2023-3147.


  • Reid, Nathan; Hunt, Alex; Thorne, Robert; Hille, John; Plet, Chloe; Noble, Ryan; Pinchand, Tenten; Gray, David (2023): Continental Scale Hydrogeochemical Data Collection. v1. CSIRO. Data Collection.
  • Gray, David; Reid, Nathan; Noble, Ryan; Thorne, Robert; Giblin, Angela. Hydrogeochemical Mapping of the Australian Continent. Kensington, WA: CSIRO; 2019. csiro:EP195905.
  • Reid, Nathan; Thorne, Robert; Folkes, Chris; Gilmore, Phil; Pinchand, Tenten. Hydrogeochemistry of the Cobar Region. Geological Survey of NSW: CSIRO, GSNSW, MinEx CRC; 2021. csiro:EP207556.
  • Bardwell, Nicki; Gray, David. Hydrogeochemistry of Western Australia – Data Release: Accompanying Notes. Perth: CSIRO; 2016. csiro:EP156404.
  • Gray, David; Noble, Ryan; Reid, Nathan; Sutton, Gordon; Pirlo, Mark. Regional scale hydrogeochemical mapping of the northern Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia: a new technology for exploration in arid Australia. Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis. 2016; 16(1, February 2016):100-115.
  • Gray, David; Reid, Nathan; Noble, Ryan. Improved hydrogeochemical exploration in the northwest Yilgarn Craton – Adding value to underexplored areas. Kensington, WA: CSIRO; 2014. csiro:EP143875.
  • Gray, David; Noble, Ryan; Reid, Nathan (2016): Hydrogeochemistry of north Yilgarn Craton (M414): Data Release. v2. CSIRO. Data Collection.
  • Thorne, Robert; Reid, Nathan; Gray, David; Ballsun-Stanton, Brian; Bardwell, Nicki; Klump, Jens; Davis, Aaron; Ross, Shawn; Sobotkova, Adela. M436 Distal Footprints: UNCOVER Australia – Hydrogeochemistry of the Capricorn Orogen. Perth: CSIRO; 2018. csiro:EP182906.
  • Reid, Nathan; Thorne, Robert; Tang, Joseph; Purdy, David John; Brown, Dominic; Plet, Chloe; Kamber, Balz; Pinchand, Tenten. Hydrogeochemistry of the Eastern Isa Block. Geological Survey of Queensland: Geological Survey of Queensland; 2022. csiro:EP2023-2432.