Geophysical prospecting and exploration advances and achievements made during the last 30 years, as well as more recent advances in geological application and methodology made by the Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources (MGMR), are reviewed. Coming years should see (1) an increase in regional geophysical surveys throughout China; (2) launching of a new round of geophysical and geochemical prospecting for solid mineral resources; (3) intensifying of hydro-engineering and environmental geophysical investigation in important cities; and (4) improvement of geophysical techniques and an update of instrumentation.
Exploration geophysics began in the 1930s in China, and entered a stage of continuing development in 1949. China now has a massive army of technical people involved in exploration geophysics that is active in the various fields of research, education, exploration, and instrument manufacturing. A sizeable assortment of geophysical methods is in use and under development. The Chinese army of exploration geophysicists has become one of the world's largest such groups and has made remarkable discoveries of petroleum and mineral deposits. A report is given of the historical and the current status is presented of the technical development of exploration geophysics in China, concerning aerogeophysics, well-logging and gravity, magnetic, electrical and electromagnetic, seismic and radioactivity methods. Compared with the technical level of advanced countries, from 1950 to 1970 China was 5 to 15 years behind in many technical areas of exploration geophysics, especially in instrumentation. Since the late 1970s, China has accelerated the development of techniques for exploration geophysics and many of their techniques now meet modern standards. Todays Chinese exploration geophysicists are faced with more and more complicated geological and mineral location problems. To solve these problems China must modernize further the technology of exploration geophysics and orient efforts to meet the particular problems arising from geology peculiar to China.