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Book Chapter

Muon Geotomography—Bringing New Physics to Orebody Imaging

By
Douglas Bryman
Douglas Bryman
Department of Physics and Astronomy,University of British Columbia, 6224 Agricultural Road, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T1Z1, Canada
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James Bueno
James Bueno
Advanced Applied Physics Solutions, 4004 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 2A3, Canada
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Kris Davis
Kris Davis
Geophysical Inversion Facility, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2020-2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T1Z4, Canada
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Vlad Kaminski
Vlad Kaminski
Geophysical Inversion Facility, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2020-2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T1Z4, Canada
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Zhiyi Liu
Zhiyi Liu
Advanced Applied Physics Solutions, 4004 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 2A3, Canada
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Douglas Oldenburg
Douglas Oldenburg
Geophysical Inversion Facility, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2020-2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T1Z4, Canada
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Mark Pilkington
Mark Pilkington
Geological Survey of Canada, Central Canada Division, 615 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E9, Canada
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Richard Sawyer
Richard Sawyer
Nyrstar Myra Falls, P.O. Box 8000, Campbell River, British Columbia V9W 5E2, Canada
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Published:
January 01, 2014

Abstract

Muon geotomography, a novel geophysical exploration and imaging technology, uses cosmic rays to create three-dimensional (3-D) images of subsurface density distributions. The first controlled field test confirming the capability of muon geotomography for imaging a dense orebody in a complex geologic environment was conducted at the Price volcanic-hosted massive sulfide (VHMS) deposit, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The semimassive and massive polymetallic mineralization of the Price deposit is situated in a Paleozoic stratigraphic package of rocks known as the Sicker Group including the Price, Myra, Thelwood, and Flower Ridge Formations, indicative of volcanic rocks formed in a rifted oceanic island-arc system. The field application involved placing a sensor with an active area of 1 m2 beneath the massive sulfide orebody in an underground tunnel for exposures of about two weeks at several locations. Muon flux data were inverted to recover a 3-D density image of the deposit. The inverted data were in good agreement with drill core data. However, some distortions of the image were observed due to the limitations imposed by the available tunnel which restricted the angular views available to the sensors. Muon geotomography works best when sensors are placed such that they can view the region under study from a range of different angles. The demonstrated ability to perform accurate forward model simulations makes the sensitivity of the technique predictable for specific survey situations. The results demonstrate the potential of muon geotomography for identification and characterization of orebodies located in complex geologic environments. Three-dimensional images from muon geotomography surveys may be used to guide drilling operations toward regions of high-density contrast, thereby significantly reducing costs and environmental impact associated with locating orebodies.

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Contents

Special Publications of the Society of Economic Geologists

Building Exploration Capability for the 21st Century

Karen D. Kelley
Karen D. Kelley
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Howard C. Golden
Howard C. Golden
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Society of Economic Geologists
Volume
18
ISBN electronic:
9781629499291
Publication date:
January 01, 2014

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