The Demand for Airborne Geophysical Surveys
Greater global demand
for minerals is leading to an increased demand for mineral exploration and in
turn geophysical surveying. Airborne
geophysical surveying, in particular magnetics and radiometrics, have become the
leading technique to initiate the mineral exploration process, by acquiring
data from the air. This has proved to be
very economic and efficient.
Airborne survey data can be processed into a
wide variety of detailed geophysical map products which are used to identify
and model geophysical anomalies.
Geophysical anomalies are then interpreted by an experienced
geophysicist who will make recommendations based on the data as to where
further in-depth exploration such as drilling or seismic surveys are justified.
Typical Airborne Geophysical
surveys methods are:
These methods each
require different equipment and applied technologies in order to produce
accurate and repeatable results.
Airborne surveys are key as they allow for the most economical and
efficient mapping of large areas. Single
engine aircraft can economically fly small to large mineral surveys over land,
while twin engine aircraft have proven to be an invaluable in determining oil
and gas deposits offshore, or in over-land surveys with long ferry legs to the
closest airport. Helicopters are used to achieve very low survey altitude or in
mountainous terrains requiring high gradient climb ability.
Airborne Geophysical Survey Technology
There are a wide variety of different
geophysical technologies that can be performed by airborne means. These
technologies are all proven, repeatable acquisition methods for acquiring data
from an airborne geophysical survey platform.
typically collects magnetic, radiometric and XDS VLF-EM survey data on any
given flight, however other technologies such as gravity, seep finder and
electromagnetic can be used upon request.
Each technology requires unique specialized instruments as well
different survey characteristics to acquire precision data. Survey factors which vary for each technology
type of terrain in the grid,
distance between grid lines,
solar diurnal activity is also a factor which must be considered and monitored
throughout each flight.
aircraft are generally restricted by the weight of the instruments that can be
carried safely onboard the aircraft.
Further, the equipment must be complimentary to each other in that they
must share similar acquisition parameters as listed above.
The Industries that
Drive Airborne Geophysical Surveying
Due to the increased
activity in the mining industry and a significant increase in the amount of
funding made available for the mineral exploration industry, the airborne
geophysical surveying industry is also growing steadily.
Oil companies are
constantly on the lookout for the next big deposit of hydrocarbons and fossil
fuels to capitalize on skyrocketing consumer demand. Oil companies are amongst
the richest companies in the world and provide substantial funding to the
geophysical surveying industry.
is also frequently used by Junior exploration companies who are performing
mineral evaluations of property sized exploration projects with the intention
of selling their property to major mining corporations.
With many prominent
industries finding important uses for geophysical surveying, it stands to
reason that this industry will continue to grow and prosper at a steady pace.