Feasibility of a time-domain electromagnetic survey for mapping deep-sea hydrothermal deposits

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Hangilro Jang, Hannuree Jang and Hee Joon KIM, Pukyong National University, Busan, South Korea
Marine controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) surveying has already become a popular tool for hydrocarbon exploration. Possible targets of the marine CSEM survey, other than hydrocarbon, may be marine hydrothermal mineral deposits. In transient EM (TEM) measurements, secondary fields which contain information on hydrothermal deposits in the seafloor can be measured in the absence of strong primary fields. The TEM system is useful to the development of compact, autonomous instruments which are well suited to submersible-based surveys. In this paper, we investigate the possibility of applying an in-loop TEM system to the detection of marine hydrothermal deposits through a one-dimensional modeling and inversion study. The feasibility study showed that TEM responses are very sensitive to a highly conductive layer. Time-domain target responses are larger and appear earlier in horizontal magnetic fields than in vertical ones. An inverse problem is formulated with the Gauss-Newton method and solved with the damped and smoothness-constrained least-squares approach. The test example for a marine hydrothermal TEM survey demonstrated that the depth extent, conductivity and thickness of the highly conductive layer are well resolved.