Making sense of geophysics data to reveal the Earth's features
A range of geophysical techniques – such as gravity, magnetic, seismic and electromagnetic surveys – are often used and combined with geochemical data and remote sensing to detect orebodies under covered terrain. They work by collecting data measuring physical property contrasts in the subsurface.
Inversion of geophysical data is then used to infer models of the subsurface structures, for example of a paleochannel network or an orebody. An inherent challenge in inference is that an infinite number of geological models can often explain a particular set of measurements.
Efficiently exploring this infinite set of models is key to understanding the range of possible structures we may encounter when drilling exploration wells or making exploration decisions.
New and improved techniques are needed to provide exploration companies with accurate and meaningful information based on geophysical data, both quickly and at a reasonable cost for exploration in complex geological settings.
Improving the effectiveness of geophysics from inversions from imaging to target recovery
Advances in sophisticated mathematical and statistical techniques are paving the way for more accurate and meaningful geophysical information that companies can use to underpin better decision making in their exploration program.
Our research is helping exploration companies to identify targets early so that exploration programs can be executed efficiently, to obtain detailed images of the subsurface by fusing different sources of information such as borehole data and geophysical data and to recover geological parameters of relevance for predictive applications.
Working with the minerals exploration, mining and groundwater industries as well as with government agencies, our focus is on improving the effectiveness of geophysical inference techniques around:
- Understanding the robustness of inversion results – reducing uncertainties in geophysical inversions and models for better informed exploration decision
- Providing models for predictive applications – predicting risks to mine operations based on geophysical data, such as how groundwater shortages may influence mine productivity
- Target identification – new workflows that quantify the support in the data for exploration targets help companies accurately rank anomalies.