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Aeromagnetic surveys became an integral part of gold exploration programs in the Archean Yilgarn block, Western Australia, during the mid-1980s. Although previously accepted in regional geologic mapping and in exploration for magnetite-associated deposits, aeromagnetics has gained in stature as a primary gold exploration tool through its capacity to portray subtle geologic detail over a wide range of scales.

Two developments in the application of aeromagnetics have been largely responsible for highlighting geologic elements pertinent to the localization of gold mineralization. The first is the introduction of image-processing techniques which permit display of a much wider range of information than conventional contours, and when applied to aeromagnetics, provide much greater flexibility in highlighting particular aspects of the data. The other major development has been the introduction of multiclient surveys, in which detailed, nonexclusive data are gathered over large areas and become available to explorers at a much reduced cost. Such data cater to both regional area selection studies and prospect-scale geologic mapping.

The extended geologic resolution of aeromagnetic data is illustrated in three examples from the Kalgoorlie region in the Eastern Goldfields province of the Yilgarn block.

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