Geoelectromagnetic exploration for natural resources: models, case studies and challenges.

Meju, Max A. (2002) Geoelectromagnetic exploration for natural resources: models, case studies and challenges. Surveys in Geophysics, 23 (2-3). pp. 133-205. ISSN 0169-3298

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This paper presents a tutorial review of electrical and electromagnetic(herein collectively called geoelectromagnetic) methods as applied in the search for natural resources. First, the paper discusses the technical problems and advances in geoelectromagnetic methods in the last decade. A scheme for integrating electrical and electromagnetic depth sounding data is suggested.Then, for natural resources exploration, it focuses on three themes: (1) understandinggeological models of resource targets, their physical properties, and the development of conceptual geoelectromagnetic exploration models, (2) overview of geoelectromagnetic case studies in resourceexploration, and (3) outstanding challenges in exploration. For brevity, model development is restricted to groundwater, geothermal and hydrocarbon resources, metallic ore-bodies (exemplified byvolcanogenic massive sulphides, porphyry coppers, and epithermal and Archaean greenstone belt gold deposits) and diamonds. In the treatment of resource exploration in this paper, the unifying themeis that geochemical processes of weathering and hydrothermal alteration form clayey products that may render natural resource targets directly or indirectly detectable by their resistivity characteristics.Since hydrated clays are an important feature of most resource types and are major causes of low resistivity anomalies in geoelectromagnetic exploration, they may be taken as providing detectable marker horizons or pathfinders and a basis for developing a consistent investigative approachfor natural resources. However, it is recognised that no single resource model or standard approach may be universally applicable. Natural resource systems are inherently 3D and require large numbers of depth soundings at high station densities to image adequately. Thus, developing methodsof increasing the productivity of data acquisition, the development of better 3D software tools and lowering costs are seen as the major challenges facing the use of geoelectromagnetic methods for naturalresource exploration.

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Journal Article
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Surveys in Geophysics
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15 Jan 2009 13:20
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21 Nov 2022 18:47