Recent Advancements in Full Tensor Gravity Gradiometry for Resource Exploration: A Case study from West Africa - Birmian Greenstone Belt

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 11:05 AM
James Mataragio and James Brewster, Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States
Over the years significant progress has been made in understanding the regional geologic models of the Greenstone Belts associated with gold mineralization in the fields of exploration geochemistry, geophysics and data integration. Improved knowledge of the geological models together with advancements in exploration techniques have resulted in the discovery of many near surface, and relatively large gold mines around the world such as the Abitibi, Isua, Barberton, Lake Victoria, Sadiola, and Yatela.

However, the search for new deposits becomes more difficult due to the fact that most easily detectable, near surface deposits have been discovered. Many of the remaining deposits tend to be remotely located and deep underground. Effective exploration for new economically viable deposits requires approaches that integrate multiple techniques capable of resolving smaller, deeper and remotely located resources.

Gravity surveys have been widely used to map and define geometry and structure of greenstones belts at a regional scale. Structure and hydrothermally altered zones can be mapped, either directly by gravity in weathered environments or inferred in terrains where geological units of different density are offset and/or altered

Gravity gradiometry is increasingly becoming a standard method of commercial minerals exploration. Gradiometry presents a significant increase in spatial resolution when compared to previous airborne gravity methods. Airborne full tensor gravity gradiometry surveys have been flown in the past for prospect-level gold exploration in Quebec, Nunavut, Nevada, Brazil, Mali, Zambia and New Zealand and Nevada.

The application of airborne gravity gradiometry for prospect-level gold exploration over greenstone belts is discussed in this paper. The high resolution system capability to detect small, high frequency targets is the key for successful results. In addition, this paper presents and discusses data enhancement and 3D inversion results. It is expected that the result of data enhancement and 3D inversion will help resolve subsurface structures associated with gold mineralization and updates the existing geological model over the property.