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Regional-Scale Mineral Exploration Through Joint Inversion and Geology Differentiation Based on Multiphysics Geoscientific Data in the QUEST Project Area
  • Jae Deok Kim,
  • Jiajia Sun,
  • Aline Melo
Jae Deok Kim
MIT-WHOI Joint Program
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Jiajia Sun
University of Houston

Corresponding Author:jsun20@uh.edu

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Aline Melo
University College Dublin
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Airborne geophysics is widely used in mineral exploration because it provides rapid collection of multiple types of geophysical data over large areas. The availability of multiphysics data is potentially useful because it can lead to a common earth model consistent with all available data and prior information. However, quantitative integration of regional-scale multiphysics airborne geophysical data is rarely reported in literature. We focused on an under-explored region of British Columbia between Williams Lake and Mackenize, namely, the QUEST Project area, where airborne gravity and magnetic data were available. We used a workflow consisting of two key components: joint inversion and geology differentiation. Joint inversion allows us to construct structurally similar physical property models. Geology differentiation classifies the jointly inverted physical property values into distinct classes and builds a 3D quasi-geology model that shows the spatial distribution of different geological units. Prior geological information from various sources is also used when performing geology differentiation. We applied the workflow to the airborne gravity and magnetic data from the Quesnel terrane in central British Columbia. We have successfully identified 9 different geological units. Our results allowed for a more detailed classification of the geology beneath a thick overburden of glacial sediments and we have also identified potential targets for future detailed surveys that are spatially correlated to known mineral deposits (Mount Milligan, Lorraine, Takla-Rainbow, and Kwanika deposits). Our work provides guidance for follow-up detailed surveys in the Quesnel terrane and highlights the benefits of integrated interpretation of multiphysics geoscientific data.