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Sprigg was sent by the South Australian government during 1946 to inspect abandoned mines in the Ediacaran Hills, to ascertain whether old mines could be reworked profitably using new technologies.
When he discovered the fossils, apparently while eating his lunch, he realised that they were very ancient, either of Early Cambrian, or possibly even of Precambrian age.
This discovery resulted ultimately in the definition during 2004 of the Ediacaran Period, the first new geological period created in more than one hundred years.
Of other significance, Sprigg helped establish Santos (an acronym for South Australia Northern Territory Oil Search), which discovered gas deposits in Cooper Basin, including the Moomba Gas Field, which supplies natural gas to South Australia, New South Wales and Canberra.
They prospected for uranium in the Northern Territory and nickel in the north west corner area of South Australia as well as working for Santos.During 1943 Sprigg had been secretary of the Australian Association of Scientific Workers.The association was concerned with the transfer of scientific workers from wartime to peacetime projects once hostilities ceased, and encouraged debate on the social responsibility of science.A governing board of Reg Sprigg, his wife Griselda and Dennis Walter, a mineralogist and old friend, oversaw the creation of Arkaroola Village out of existing buildings and the opening to tourists during October 1968.Sprigg attracted the attention of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) during 1950, due to Sprigg's knowledge of uranium deposits in Australia and throughout the world.