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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...

Colin Reeves
Providing a fresh angle on exploration

The turning point came when Colin Reeves was studying theoretical physics and chemistry at the University of Cambridge.

"I was getting desperate for something less academic and more hands on," says Reeves, co-founder of Geosoft and principal of Earthworks BV, a Netherlands-based company that applies global tectonics to exploration problems. "I stumbled into earth sciences in my final year. That dispelled the blues I was having with all those theoretical subjects."

To this day, Reeves, 62, bristles at the word "academic" to describe his career, even though he went on to complete a PhD at the University of Leeds, became professor of exploration geophysics and later chair at the International Institute for Aerial Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC) in Delft and holds an honorary professorship at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

He prefers to emphasize the practical nature of his work, which includes training a generation of geophysicists from developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. During his tenure at ITC, some 250 students – including 50 post-graduates - passed through his department. Many now hold senior positions in their home countries.

Earlier in his career, a predilection for this "hands on" approach motivated Reeves to pool his resources with Ian MacLeod, a colleague at geophysical consulting firm Paterson, Grant and Watson (PGW) in Toronto.  In 1982 they purchased an early model IBM personal computer, hooked it up to an old TV in Reeves's house and started developing software designed to ease the exploration process.

That informal tinkering evolved into Geosoft Inc. in 1986. More than two decades later, Geosoft is a worldwide supplier of exploration software with offices in South America, Europe, South Africa and Australia. Reeves sold his interest to MacLeod when he made the leap from Toronto to Delft, where he lives to this day. MacLeod is now chairman of Geosoft and serves as the company's chief technologist.

"It was the biggest career move I've ever made, and it was not without a few misgivings," says Reeves. "I loved Toronto and was excited about what Ian was doing, but I couldn't quite see the way ahead for myself at PGW at the time."

His subsequent position at ITC allowed Reeves to cement his reputation as an internationally renowned specialist in airborne geophysics. In the late 1980s he initiated the digital compilation of aeromagnetic data for the whole of Africa, Arabia, India and the Middle East. A few years later, he supervised the production of the first magnetic and gravity anomaly images of Australia.
But the ITC's dedication to geophysical research and training at the Delft campus waned and, by the end of the millennium, Reeves was looking for new opportunities. He opted for early retirement in 2004 and formed Earthworks to advise on projects where the combination of geology, paleo-geographic reconstruction, geophysics and digital cartography can provide a fresh angle on exploration.

His use of airborne geophysical coverage to understand the geology and tectonics of the southern continents (such as the fragmentation of Gondwana and the consequent generation of sedimentary basins), for instance, is of particular interest to the oil sector. 

Africa, where he began his career with the geological survey of Botswana, is a common geographical theme for Reeves. Many of his ITC students were African, and many of his current projects are based on the continent. He is currently advising Nigeria on a new airborne geophysical survey of the country that is nearing completion and entering the interpretation phase.

But he often finds himself frustrated with the lack of access to data in Africa and considers this a key barrier to the kind of insights a more holistic approach to exploration can provide.

"Many national authorities think that a geophysical map is a kind of treasure map best kept under lock and key," he says. "There is a failure to understand the many stages between data and resource discovery and the intellectual input required throughout those stages."

That may be changing. In March 94 representatives from 30 nations met in Windhoek, Namibia for GIRAF 2009, a workshop designed to start building a pan-African network of geoscience information knowledge and develop a strategic plan for future information gathering and sharing on the continent.

Along those lines, Reeves considers GIS-supported exploration the way of the future. He calls GIS the "intellect amplifier" that can lead to new ideas and help geoscientists share those ideas with one another.
"We could gain greater insight if only we could see what we already know more clearly," says Reeves. "Suddenly - within the last few years - computer technology is good enough to make this possible, so the focus should be on how best to organise data and how to persuade those holding data of the importance of letting people work with it as freely and easily as possible."