South Australian geologist digs deep to create virtual tour of Flinders Ranges

Tourists will soon be able to explore the rich history of the Flinders Ranges through an immersive 3D tour of the region.

Jun 18, 2021, updated Jun 22, 2021

Associate Professor Tom Raimondo is a geologist and geochemist at the University of South Australia and is in the initial phases of documenting the landscapes that will be used in creating a virtual tour of the region.

“The Flinders Ranges are the best place in the world to witness the rise of animal life on earth,” Raimondo said.

“The story of life began in the Flinders Ranges, and its rocks are like the pages of history for us to read.”

The Flinders Ranges are widely heralded for their rich geoscientific history, boasting Ediacaran fossils which have gone on to become South Australia’s fossil emblem.

That discovery at the Ediacara minefield in Nilpena was the first time the fossilised remains of an entire community of soft-bodied creatures had been found anywhere in the world.

In the virtual tour, viewers will be able to explore the Flinders Ranges, including that fossil site, through 3D fly-through simulations that will deliver birds-eye views of the landscape.

Other destinations to be featured will include Wilpena Pound, Lake Acraman and the fossil geothermal site at Arkaroola, which is the longest known active geothermal region anywhere on Earth.

The Flinders Ranges’ mining history will also be included, with users taken deep underground into the Blinman Heritage Mine to showcase the economic boom brought about by copper discoveries.

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“We’re keen to show how the early exploration for copper in the Flinders Ranges ultimately led to uncovering one of the largest copper, uranium and gold deposits in the world at Olympic Dam,” Raimondo said.

The project will be used to support the South Australian Government’s bid for the Flinders Ranges to be officially listed as a World Heritage site after it was placed on a tentative list in April.

Raimondo said the virtual tour is “the perfect vehicle to bring the Flinders Ranges to a global audience, showing everyone what a special place we live in.”

“It will maximise the benefits and economic opportunities available to this region by celebrating its truly world-class geology and palaeontology.”

This is story is part of Solstice Media’s Regional Showcase series and awards program. Each week we will bring our readers regional news stories that matter as well as some inspirational tales of individuals and communities doing what country people do best – having a go.

If you have a tale to tell or know of one, get in touch at South Australian Regional Showcase.

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