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Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists. Sponsored by Geosoft.

News & Views

News Archive

December 7, 2016

Geosoft introduces IP and resistivity inversion in VOXI Earth Modelling

Geosoft has added induced polarization and resistivity data inversion to its VOXI Earth Modelling 3D inversion software service. Geoscientists are now able to create detailed 3D models of conductivity and chargeability from IP and resistivity survey data with VOXI. The resulting models can assist in interpreting and targeting regions for mineral and environmental applications...

December 5, 2016

Mexico's Deepwater Round Exceeds Expectations

Some of the world's biggest oil companies showed up Dec. 5 and agreed to invest on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico, proving that deepwater exploration still has a pulse despite challenging market conditions...

November 30, 2016

Magnetic inversion results for Ngamiland available for download

A regional-scale geophysical inversion of magnetic field data in the Ngamiland region of northwestern Botswana is now available for download from the Botswana Geoscience Portal, a partnership initiative of the Botswana Geoscience Institute, industry sponsors and Geosoft...

November 30, 2016

LIGO Resumes Search for Gravitational Waves

After a series of upgrades, the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, have turned back on and resumed their search for ripples in the fabric of space and time known as gravitational waves. LIGO transitioned from their engineering test runs to full science observations at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 30...

November 9, 2016

International Volcano Scientists Unite

For the first time, the United States will host the international Volcano Observatory Best Practices workshop, previously held only in Italy. The workshop will take place this month in Vancouver, Washington. It is designed specifically for volcano observatories around the world and their staff to exchange ideas and best practices with each other...

October 4, 2016

USGS Assesses Mineral Potential for Sagebrush Habitats in Six Western States

USGS has completed a comprehensive assessment and inventory of potential mineral resources covering approximately 10 million acres of Federal and adjacent lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming...

October 3, 2016

Uganda Targets Up to U.S.$100 Million for Mineral Exploration

Uganda is well endowed with mineral resources and, like many naturally-gifted African countries, is becoming keen on ensuring that these resources play a transformative role in its long-term structural transformation dream - the Vision 2040...

September 9, 2016

Small-Scale Fishers Get A Big Boost With First-Of-Its Kind Impact Investment Fund

Conservation organization Rare announces the Meloy Fund for Small-Scale Fisheries at Our Ocean Conference. The Global Environment Facility, one of the largest funders of conservation worldwide, will be investing $6 million into the fund...

September 1, 2016

Scientists take to the skies to track West African pollution

Scientists operating research aircraft over West Africa have detected organic materials in the atmosphere over a number of urban areas, contributing to concerns of the rise in pollution across the region...

August 17, 2016

New IGS Xplore prospectivity maps for Botswana

International Geoscience Services have released a series of base metal prospectivity maps for the Ngamiland District of northwestern Botswana using free geodata available on the recently-launched Botswana Geoscience Portal, hosted by Geosoft. The maps identify favorable areas for copper, zinc and lead mineralization using geological, geochemical and geophysical datasets downloaded directly from the portal.

August 11, 2016

NexGen Makes New High Grade Discovery

NexGen Energy reported the discovery of a new high grade zone of mineralization 4.7 km northeast of the Arrow Deposit as part of an on-going summer drilling program on its 100% owned, Rook I property, Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

August 10, 2016

Rampion UXO Disposal to Take Place This Week

E.ON has confirmed that the two unexploded devices, detected along the Rampion offshore cable route will be safely disposed this week following the consultation with the Marine Management Organisation...

August 9, 2016

Diamonds In The Rough: E&Ps Find New Reserves In Mature Basins

The oil industry’s history demonstrates clearly that new plays and prospects have long been found in mature basins that were thought to be well on the way to being squeezed dry. Through the acquisition of new data, developing new concepts and coming up with fresh interpretations, long-producing basins around the world from the North Sea to Malaysia have continued to reveal new riches...

August 8, 2016

Northern Shield Identifies High Quality VTEM Targets at Séquoi

Northern Shield Resources announced the results of the interpretation and modelling of the VTEM survey from the Séquoi Property in the Labrador Trough of Quebec . Séquoi is owned 100% by Northern Shield and is being explored for Noril'sk style Ni-Cu-PGE massive sulphides. After geophysical modelling and interpretation of the VTEM data from Séquoi, six VTEM anomalies of significant interest have been identified...

August 3, 2016

Rio Tinto tailors big data drive to copper

Rio Tinto will put the weight of an exploration big data push and its newly-formed Growth and Innovation group behind its desire to identify a "tier 1" copper asset. Speaking at the annual Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said Australia was "overdue for a tier 1" mineral discovery of any type...

August 1, 2016

Tetra Tech Awarded $200 Million Navy CLEAN Contract

Tetra Tech announced that it has been awarded a $200 million, single-award contract by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic. Through the Comprehensive Long-term Environmental Action Navy (CLEAN) contract, Tetra Tech will provide environmental engineering support services to installations within the NAVFAC Atlantic Area of Responsibility...

May 3, 2016

NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS), MODUM Partners announce "Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons"

This international project cooperates closely with CHEMSEA (Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons) Project for and sharing and knowledge transfer...

April 12, 2016

Monday mad rush for gold stocks

Renewed optimism about the outlook for gold saw investors pile back into gold stocks, pushing many stock to 52-week highs in heavy volumes...

April 11, 2016

Medgold Resources: Continues to Expand the Boticas Gold Project, Portugal; Proposes $200,000 Private Placement

Medgold Resources is pleased to announce new assay results from contiguous rock-chip sampling from the Limarinho South zone at its Boticas gold project in Portugal, which include a highlight of 6.0m @ 5.7 g/t Au...

April 8, 2016

De-carbonizing our energy sector

Nuclear energy currently provides around 11 percent of the world's electricity. China, the European Union, the United States, India, Russia, South Korea, and other nations’ have major existing fleets...

April 1, 2016

Follow-Up Drilling Results Indicate Wide Gold Zones at Hendricks Gold Discovery

Gascoyne Resources Limited announced that it has received the final assay results from the 10,000 metre aircore exploration drilling programme...

March 26, 2016

The Oil Market Is Finally Hitting Its Breaking Point

After a significant reduction in investments over the past two years, oil companies can no longer overcome the production declines from legacy wells...

March 15, 2016

N-Sea Expands into the French Offshore Wind Industry

Subsea IMR provider, N-Sea, has signed a letter of intent with CERES Recherches & Expertise Sous-Marine and TechSub Industrie Environement, to provide subsea survey, installation and remediation services to the French offshore wind industry...

March 9, 2016

PDAC 2016 Convention Exceeds 22,000 Attendees

Optimism and opportunity abounded at the PDAC 2016 Convention of The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada in spite of recent industry challenges...

March 3, 2016

6 Alpha Launches EOD Contracting Division

6 Alpha Associates, a specialist risk consultancy practice, with expertise in the assessment and management of unexploded ordnance, has launched a dedicated explosive ordnance disposal division...

Benefits of rapid data assessment and visualization prove themselves in exploration scenarios

Carmela Burns

Rapid data assessment and dynamic visualization helps to reduce risk and to increase prospecting capabilities in exploration The use of mapping and visualization software is growing day-by day in exploration. This is largely due to speed and efficiency advantages when dealing with greater volumes and diversity of data on PC desktop environments.

The ability to effectively display, rapidly assess and dynamically experiment with multiple datasets has helped to reduce risk and increase prospecting capabilities in exploration. Increasingly, what's required in exploration is software that can handle large volumes of data and multiple data sources and data types, such as geophysical data, geochemical data, drillhole data, satellite imagery, GIS data and any kind of mapping data, within one single environment or transparently linked environments. Utilizing today's visualization tools, geoscientists are able to reduce risk and increase understanding by looking at as much different data as they can, in as many different ways as they can, within compressed project time frames.

Despite the fact that exploration companies are leaner, with fewer people and shorter project time frames, Dr. Michal Ruder, principal of US-based Wintermoon Geotechnologies Inc has seen exponential improvements in productivity and data quality as a result of new software for mapping and visualization. Whereas it used to take weeks to process and interpret geoscience datasets, today it's not uncommon for geoscientists to address the salient issues of interpretations in the course of one or two days.

"I can remember doing batch maps, in paper copies, back in the 1980's," says Dr. Ruder. "Since then, the ability to image geoscientific datasets on a computer screen in real-time, and continual improvements in visualization software, has had an amazing impact on what we can do, as geoscientists, and how quickly we can do it." Interpretation results are also more accurate because geoscientists have the tools to view the quality of the data in every single phase, from initial data processing and quality control through to visualization, integration and the final interpretations.

Dynamic and Integrated Visualization

Equipped with her laptop and mapping software, which includes ArcGIS and Geosoft's Oasis montaj mapping and processing software, it's not uncommon for Dr. Ruder to do interpretations on-the-fly, in collaborative meetings with major Oil and Gas customers. "I can do a lot of work in my clients' offices on my laptop," says Dr. Ruder. 'My mapping software enables a lot of interactivity, and testing of their hypothesis, and I can show customers results in real time."

There are efficiency and quality advantages in being able to dynamically pull customer data in, whether it's well data, satellite imagery or other types of data, and immediately looking at it as part of the interpretation. The dynamic linking of multiple views of imagery, maps, profiles, plots and data in Oasis montaj also provides an easier point of reference for visually linking common features or areas of interest.

This type of rapid assessment and dynamic experimentation depends on the ability to interactively display, and enhance, different attributes in different ways, whether through contrast enhancement, shade relief, angle illumination, two dimensional or three dimensional displays. Speed in creating and recreating visualizations, or refreshment time, is also an important consideration, especially when dealing with large datasets

Three Dimensional Modeling

The use of specialized three-dimensional modeling software, for prospect modeling of salt bodies, can further help to reduce risk in areas such as potential field exploration "It's very prudent to do 3D modeling for prospect modeling of salt bodies when you're considering a very expensive well in deep water," says Dr. Ruder.

One example is the GMSYS 3D application, developed by Northwest Geophysical Associates, which is integrated with, and fully exploits, the three dimensional visualization capabilities of Oasis montaj. Geoscientists can use the software to plot 3D displays of the entire model in one simple step while retaining control over each element in the 3D visualization. The 3D visualizations update automatically during inversion and structure editing. Geosocientists can also add wells, seismic sections, or other vector or raster information to their 3D model visualizations. "We've been using 3D seismic volumes, and approximations of a 3D velocity volume, in our interpretations for some time," says Dr. Ruder. "With modeling software such as GMSYS 3D, we can now convert that to depth and ensure that it makes sense with the observed gravity and magnetic data."

Software and Data Integration

Today's visualization software is required to enable and support the easy integration of different types of datasets, including geoscientific data, satellite imagery and other GIS data into the mapping environment. Working in multiple software environments, is a reality for geoscience consultants like Dr. Ruder who need to meet their needs, as well as the needs of customers with a variety of software preferences. "In general, I find that the software tools I use work well together," says Dr. Ruder. "I also welcome the ability to distribute datasets and grids back and forth between my GIS and mapping software, with new programs like Geosoft's Target for ArcGIS."

While geoscientists recognize that there's a lot to gain by looking at different types of data, Dr. Ruder admits that there is still a tendency, within each discipline, to use the data that they understand the best. "In general, I think people don't realize how easy it is to integrate all of their datasets, whether it's seismic and non-seismic, raster and vector," says Dr. Ruder. "GIS software and Oasis montaj provide some great tools for that."

Carmela Burns is Editor of Geosoft's Earth Explorer Magazine.