Home Geology A SHRIMP broadens scientific scope in Australia

A SHRIMP broadens scientific scope in Australia

In an absolute contradiction an instrument called SHRIMP weighs 12 tonnes and measures six metres long, but will allow scientists at Geoscience Australia to analyse trace elements within individual minerals smaller than a grain of sand.
Dr Peter Boxall, Secretary Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism and Dr Neil Williams, CEO at the opening of Geoscience Australia's SHRIMP laboratory (Copyright Geoscience Australia)

It is a Sensitive High Resolution Ion MicroProbe, or SHRIMP, and it will provide an important stream of geological data to encourage mining exploration investment though the provision of pre-competitive data and vital scientific information for researchers investigating the geological history of Australia.

Opening Geoscience Australia’s new SHRIMP laboratory, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Hon. Martin Ferguson said the new in-house facility will significantly increase the amount of high quality data about the ages of Australian rocks collated by the agency for its partners in the State and Territory geological surveys and mining companies.

“Australia is developing a sophisticated understanding of how the timing of geological events millions or even billions of years ago have produced the mineral and energy resources we depend on today,” Mr Ferguson said.

“As the need grows to look deeper in the crust to locate new world-class mineral deposits in Australia, the new SHRIMP will allow Geoscience Australia to be more directly involved in research to develop a greater understanding of the geological potential of onshore Australia,” he said.

The SHRIMP is an Australian hi-tech success story which has been developed during 20 years of design and innovation at the Australian National University. The complex instruments are built by Australian Scientific Instruments in the Canberra suburb of Fyshwick and have been exported to laboratories in Japan, the United States and China.

  • Watch the SHRIMP movie
  • Media release
  • Read more on geochronology