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1. 2. 3. 4. The first step is to define the problem What is the area of interest? What data are presently available? What are the physical properties of interest and which geophysical methods will respond to the physical properties of interest? What is the depth of interest of the target? 9. What other data (geophysical or nongeophysical) are required to interpret and or constrain the interpretation of acquired geophysical data and when will it be obtained?
10. What are the expected results? What is the geometry of the target? What is the required site coverage, spatial sampling and 11.What are the likely limitations? resolution to detect the target and which techniques can provide the desired results? 12. Who will make the decision of the methods to be used, plan the survey, make the What are the site-specific constraints and measurements, analyze the data integrate the which geophysical tools can perform well geophysical data with other data to arrive at a under these conditions? realistic conceptual geologic model and write the report? Which techniques can provide complementary data? 13.Will the overall program likely be technically successful and cost-effective?
A few terms
Exploration Overburden Exploration
Searching or prospecting of an area with the objective of locating hydrocarbons, minerals and ground water is what is called ‘Exploration’ in geophysical parlance
Overburden is the material lying over an ore or valuable deposit. Also, the section above a refractor or above a reflector is also referred sometimes as the overburden.
Contrast is the difference in physical properties between a geologic body and the surrounding rocks. •Density contrast is made use of for the gravity methods. •Susceptibility contrast is made use of for the magnetic methods. •Velocity contrast (to be more specific, acoustic impedance contrast) is brought into use for the seismic methods
especially a deviation from uniformity of exploration interest for example. An interesting resistivity anomaly is generally less than background.Geophysical Anomaly A deviation from uniformity in physical properties. . free air anomaly A portion of a geophysical survey. generally synonymous with structure. Occasionally used for unexplained seismic events A feature that may be associated with petroleum accumulation or mineral deposits An induced polarization anomaly is usually positive and greater than background (or the normal effect) to be economically interesting. which is different in appearance from the survey in general. Bouguer anomaly. a travel time anomaly. such as magnetic or gravitational. In seismic usage.
Fields of Exploration Geophysics • Regional Geophysics •Oil & Gas Geophysics •Ore Geophysics •Groundwater Geophysics •Engineering Geophysics •Borehole Geophysics .
Gravity-magnetic methods Common problems: Structure of geosynclinal areas.Regional Geophysics Types of problems: •Problems located in the Upper part of the crust and the Upper mantle (5-70km) •Problems concerning the the study of the crystalline basement (within a depth range of approximately 10km) •Problems aimed at in the sedimentary formations (56km) Common problems: Structural relief of different stratigraphic complexes within the sedimentary masses. Distribution of the facies and lithological variations. Telluric and magneto telluric methods. Deep seismic soundings. synclines. Suggested methods: Magneto-Telluric soundings.electrical soundings. gravity and magnetic methods . electromagnetic. faults. large structures like anticlines. character of the basin edges. faults. electrical. platform regions. intrusives in the basement Suggested methods: Reflection seismic soundings. tectonic movements etc. refraction and reflection seismic methods Common problems: Surface relief of the crystalline basement. Magnetic. intrusives and some typical problems associated with the shallow subsurface etc Suggested methods: Gravity. Location of structures like rifts. shear zones.
•Faults. anticlines over igneous intrusives and over buried ridges (folds due to uplift and due to differential compaction of sedimentary layers). •Faulted structures including faults in folded structures and homoclinal structures •Homoclinal structures cut by igneous dykes etc. anticlines and domes.Oil & Gas Geophysics Structural •Folded structures. fissures. Types of problems: •Structural •Stratigraphic •Sand bodies such as lenses or stream channels surrounded by impermeable materials •Facies changes from permeable to impermeable lithology etc. Stratigraphic •Features associated with carbonate reefs. of lesser importance. joints etc. salt domes. •Permeability associated with erosional truncations such as pinch-outs. .
Highly fractured zone mapping 2. Leads as to gas accumulations etc.Fault locations. Structural trend. 4. 9.Methods Information outcome 1.Prospect leads and prospect definition. Nature of sediments 2.To view slices of 3D objects about different planes More objective reservoir estimation 3. 4. 2. 7. Unconformities. 2. Possible source/reservoir 2D seismic reflection survey of regional dimension Few exploratory wells drilled Close grid 2D seismic reflection survey-more localized in nature 1. Problems in mapping. Inferences of age. More wells drilled 3D seismic reflection survey in the complex areas 1. Basement lineations etc. . 6. Oil Exploration Schedule for the Virgin Areas Airborne magnetic survey (might be coupled with large scale regional MagnetoTelluric survey) Detailed geological mapping ( from the outcrop study) 1. Elements of geological history. Inferences from reflection character 1. 3. Relation of different features 4. 3. Structural character 3. Depth of basement 3. Limits of basins. Inferences of depositional environment. 3. Basin shape and extent 2. Direction of sediment source. Age of sediments. Prospect leads etc Wild cat well drilled Close grid gravity magnetic ground survey 1. 5. Sediments. which flow. 5. Types of structures. Sediment velocities. 8. 2.
they are closely associated with contacts between different rock formations. fault zones. pockets. joints. . of varying dimensions. shear zones. lenses. In such cases. stringer etc. fractures . or as bedded deposits Degree of cohesion Ore deposits can be massive or disseminated Association The mode of occurrence might be related to the tectonic history of the region and is often controlled by the subsurface geological structures.Ore Geophysics Diversity in the deposition types Shapes and sizes Mineral deposits may occur as veins. fissures etc.
shows strong positive magnetic anomaly. Obviously. electromagnetic methods. In such situations.1 gm/cm³) surrounded by Serpentine (~2. Obviously magnetic method is most suitable Highly conductive (electrical) objects: Example: Massive pyrite surrounded by schist. both harmonic and transient are very useful .55 gm/cm³) will show strong positive gravity anomaly.Suggested geophysical methods for mineral exploration Direct geophysical approach (If the physical property contrast between the ore body and the surrounding is substantial) High-density ore bodies associated with lowdensity surroundings: Example: Chromites (~4. Highly magnetic deposits: Example: A manganese ore body. surrounded by garnet sillimanite gneisses. gravity method is most suitable.
Occurring at the contact between limestones and the basic sills. mica deposits could be proved if present. Monazite (a mineral of thorium) exploration in the beach sands of east coast of India Interestingly. it is invariably associated with magnetite. and the presence of gold can only be established by test mining. Prospecting for niobium and yttrium mineralization Diamonds in volcanic pipes say Kimberlites Diamonds cannot be explored directly by geophysical methods. what can be done at best is to locate pegmatite and later on drilling. which can successfully be carried out by geophysical methods . However. So. the volcanic pipes which might possibly contain the diamonds are locate in granites-since the gamma activity and electrical resistivity of volcanic pipes are lower compared to those of granites. niobium and yttrium occur as non-radioactive ore deposits. Hence. the pipes might be characterized by lows Interestingly. appreciable radioactivity over background response is not identifiable. by conducting magnetic prospecting.Suggested geophysical methods for mineral exploration Indirect geophysical approach (When the physical properties of the mineral sought after does not have or does not show appreciable anomaly) Presence of gold in quartz veins Usually. trenching and pitting. By using geophysical methods. the amount of gold present is so small that it does not alter the physical property of the quartz mass. monazite is not identified by the radioactive property. As it occurs in very small quantity. However. So. in the beach sands of the east coast india. by making use of radioactive methods these minerals can be identified. asbestos is explored by delineating the deposition of the sills. Prospecting for asbestos occurring at the contacts between limestones Asbestos is not located by making use of its physical properties. Mica occurring in pegmatite Practically no difference in the physical properties of mica and pegmatite. these are associated Para-genetically with small amounts of radioactive minerals. a highly magnetized substance. magnetite and thereby monazites are identified. the geophysical methods can at best be used to locate quartz veins.
(b) Microgravity. Delineation of salt-fresh water boundaries Suggested geophysical methods: (a) Resistivity. Suggested geophysical methods: (a) Well logging methods.Groundwater geophysics Determination of the depth of the unweathered hard rocks and the estimation of the thickness of the overlying water bearing weathered layers Suggested geophysical methods: (a) A combination of electrical ‘sounding’ and ‘profiling’ (b) Seismic methods are used in tracing the bedrock topography. which indirectly helps in determining the thickness of the overlying sedimentary formations holding water. (b) Induced polarization methods Tracing the jointed and sheared zones which control groundwater occurrence in hard rocks Suggested geophysical methods: Micro gravity and micro magnetic methods can be used for tracing the fractures and determining the degree of fracturing in hard rocks Determination of the average porosity of sand and gravel formation etc. (c) Direct location of water has been attempted by taking advantage of the water velocity contrast between water bearing and barren formations. (b) Charged body (mise-a-la-masse) method in boreholes . (e) Cross borehole tomography etc. (d) Use of shear waves and converted waves in arriving at the water bearing properties of subsurface formations Common hydro geological problems Location of Karst zones in limestones Suggested geophysical methods: It needs a site-specific multiple choice of geophysical methods (a) Shallow ground penetrating radar . (d) Vertical seismic profiling (VSP). (c) Resistivity.
Geophysical data types for identifying karst zones Figure: Shallow radar data with dipping strata shows near surface evidence of sinkhole activity prior to collapse Figure: Microgravity and multichannel analysis of surface Figure: MASW data acquired with a landstreamer over asphalt waves(MASW) data over a paleocollapse feature .
Geophysical data types for identifying karst zones Figure: Correlation of microgravity data (top) and Geoprobe electrical resistivity pushes (bottom) locate paleo-collapse feature for further characterization .
3. Location of areas of corrosion of buried pipes carrying oil and gas (Electrical). Location of cavities in stone and masonary construction of dams and huge structures (Radio wave absorption). 5. Suggested geophysical methods: Seismic refraction and electrical resistivity methods are commonly used. 6. fractures and fault zones in the basement. mainly the study of rock types are needed for the construction of dams. estimating the changes in salinity of water etc. Location of underground fire (Geothermal). other types of huge and heavy constructions. Usual Objectives: 1. Location of buried iron pipes (Magnetic) 2. along irrigation channels. Determination of the depth to the groundwater table etc. Engineering problems of non-geological nature Types of problems and suggested methods: 1. reservoirs. which are helpful in making proper choice for construction site of dams etc.Engineering Geophysics Problem types Engineering problems with geological implications: Here. Detection of regions of mounting high pressures in mines (Piezoelectrical) 4. which may form outlets from the reservoir. location leakages. 2. Determination of the thickness of overburden and the delineation of the relief. Location of shear. Determination of heat losses in power grids ( Geothermal and infra red scanning) . Spontaneous polarization (SP) method can be used to determine the condition of filtration. 3.
Gas identification (PPh) 16. Study of different facies to delineate depositional environments (GG). Permeability determination (PPh) 12. Determination of hydrocarbon saturation (PPh) 15. Identification of source rocks (GC) 9.General identification of lithological succession (GG) 2. To find out acoustic impedance (Seism) •General Geology (GG) •Reservoir Geology (RG) •Geochemistry (GC) •Petrophysics (PPh) and •Seismic (Seism) 5. To find out interval velocity (Seism) 17. 7. To ascertain rock maturity (GC) . To find out formation water salinity (PPh) 14. 3. 4. 8. Porosity determination (PPh) 11. Identification of unusual lithology say. Determination of shale volume (PPh) 13. the presence of volcanics and evaporites (GG). Identification of different types of minerals (GG). 6. Identification of overpressure bearing zones (RG). Correlation of different stratigraphic units (GG). Identification of fractures (RG). 10.Borehole Geophysics Problem Types Five broad disciplines: Problems 1.
(ii) Facies to study depositional environment (GG). (iii) Identification of minerals. Qualitative: (i) Separating permeable beds from the impermeable ones (PPh) (ii) Study of facies and the depositional environments (GG) (iii) Stratigraphic correlation (GG) Semi quantitative: In finding out shale volume (PPh) Strictly quantitative: To find out formation water salinity (PPh) Natural gamma ray logs a. b. b. (ii) To identify unusual lithology such as volcanics. c. Qualitative: Most of the problems related to General geology (GG) (i) To know general lithology.Utility of different geophysical logs Permeability indicating logs Spontaneous Potential (SP) logs a. Semi-quantitative: (i) To know unusual lithology such as evaporites (GG) (ii) Source rock identification (GC) (iii) Shale volume determination Spectral gamma ray logs a. Qualitative: (i) To know general lithology (GG). (iii) Fracture identification (RG) Semi-quantitative: (i) Unusual lithology such as the identification of evaporites (GG). (ii) Mineral identification (GG). . (iv) Stratigraphic correlation. (v) Depositional environment of different facies. (iii) Source rock identification (GC) and (iv) Shale volume determination (PPh) b.
(iv) To recognize different types of facies to delineate environmental deposition (GG). (v) To isolate saline formation (PPh). (vi) To identify gas (PPh) b. (ii) Source rock identification. Semi-quantitative: (i) Over pressure identification (RG). (iii) For stratigraphic correlation (GG). (ii) To identify unusual lithology such as the presence of evaporites (GG). (iii) Determination of porosity (PPh) c. Quantitative: Determination of hydrocarbon saturation .Utility of different geophysical logs Resistivity logs a. Qualitative: (i) To know general lithology (GG).
(v) Gas identification (PPh) Semi-quantitative: (i) To know about general lithology (GG). (v) For gas identification (PPh) Semi-quantitative: To know general lithology (GG) Quantitative: To determine porosity of the formation Density logs Qualitative: (i) To know unusual lithology say the presence of evaporites and volcanics (GG). (ii) Interval velocity (Seism) and (iii) To know acoustic impedance Qualitative: (i) To know unusual lithology say the presence of evaporites and volcanics (GG). (ii) Fracture identification (RG). (iii) Source rock identification (GC) Quantitative: (i) To determine porosity (PPh). (iii) To know about depositional environment of different facies (GG) . (iv) Overpressure identification (RG). (iv) To know shale volume (PPh). (ii) For mineral identification (GG). (iii) For gas identification (PPh) Semi-quantitative: (i) To know about general lithology (GG). (ii) For mineral identification (GG). (ii) For stratigraphic correlation (GG). (iii) Overpressure identification (RG).Utility of different geophysical logs Porosity indicating tools Neutron logs Sonic logs Qualitative: (i) To probe unusual lithology say. and (iv) Source rock identification Quantitative: (i) To know porosity (PPh). (ii) Fracture identification (RG). the presence of evaporites (GG). (ii) To find out acoustic impedance (Seism) . (iii) To know about depositional environment of different facies (GG).
Utility of different geophysical logs Miscellaneous logs Caliper logs Caliper logs can be used mainly for the qualitative interpretation of (i) Fracture identification (RG). (ii) Overpressure identification (RG) and (iii) In distinguishing permeable beds from the impermeable ones (PPh) Temperature logs Temperature logs are needed for (i) Qualitative use of gas identification (PPh) and (ii) Semi quantitative use of determining maturity of rocks (GC) .
Nature of geophysical problems .
Some frequently asked questions in Exploration geophysics •What types of geophysical methods are to be used for the given nature of the geological problems? •What is the nature and magnitude of geophysical anomaly? •What is the nature of the basement? Is it flat or dipping? Is it highly fractured? The basinal deposits are basement guided or basement independent? •What is the nature of local and regional anomalies? What types of processing techniques are to be adopted for separating local from regional anomalies? •What are the resolution criteria for the type of geophysical method adopted? How to optimize the performance of the given instrument to adopt it for high resolution data acquisition? •What are the physical factors responsible for controlling the anomalies? •What is the nature of noise? What methods are to be adopted for maximizing Signal/Noise ratio? •What types of corrections are needed for the raw field data? •What is the nature of ambiguities involved with the type of geophysical methods used? .
Inverse nature of the geophysical problem Forward problem When some of the fundamental physical properties of a body is known and its effect at some arbitrary point is supposed to be calculated. some of the solutions of the inverse problems are mathematically correct but geologically absurd. the possible geometry of a causative body for the given value of the physical property contrast is to be guessed. . this is called a Forward problem Inverse problem If for a given anomaly curve (plotted from the field readings). In many situations. the possibilities are many and the problem is called of the inverse type. There lies the role of geological insights.
Causative bodies or any type of discontinuities are deviations from the properties mentioned above. it is usually assumed that the subsurface in general is homogeneous. . In the boreholes.Fundamental assumptions in the subsurface For the observations on the ground surface. the medium surrounding the ‘tool’ is homogeneous. isotropic and infinite. isotropic and semi-infinite.
at any given datum.Anomaly detection for the natural field based methods For natural field based geophysical methods. . the thing that will be observed is variation in the scale factor. anomaly can be detected when there is change in the physical properties of rocks along the horizontal direction only. Otherwise.
whether the objective is to probe the subsurface along vertical direction or laterally.Enhancement of the geophysical anomaly For the artificial source based methods. there is proportionate enhancement of the anomaly . if the contrast in the physical properties of rocks is very sharp.
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