Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Gravity Exploration Methods: 75th Anniversary Historical development of the gravity method in exploration

By
M. N. Nabighian
M. N. Nabighian
1 Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois St., Golden, Colorado, 80401-1887. E-mail: mnabighi@mines.edu;ygli@mines.edu.
Search for other works by this author on:
M. E. Ander
M. E. Ander
2Ander Laboratory LLC, 3604 Aspen Creek Parkway, Austin, Texas 78749. E-mail: mark@anderlab.com.
Search for other works by this author on:
V. J. S. Grauch
V. J. S. Grauch
3U. S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, Federal Center MS 964, Denver, Colorado 80225. E-mail: tien@usgs.gov;jeff@usgs.gov.
Search for other works by this author on:
R. O. Hansen
R. O. Hansen
4PRJ Inc., 12640 W. Cedar Dr., Suite 100, Lakewood, Colorado 80228. E-mail: rohansen@prj.com.
Search for other works by this author on:
T. R. LaFehr
T. R. LaFehr
5Colorado School of Mines (retired), 1500 Illinois Street, Golden, Colorado 80401-1887. E-mail: lafehr@bresnan.net.
Search for other works by this author on:
Y. Li
Y. Li
1 Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois St., Golden, Colorado, 80401-1887. E-mail: mnabighi@mines.edu;ygli@mines.edu.
Search for other works by this author on:
W. C. Pearson
W. C. Pearson
6Pearson Technologies Inc., 1801 Broadway, Suite 600, Denver, Colorado 80202. E-mail: bpearson@pearsontechnologies.com.
Search for other works by this author on:
J. W. Peirce
J. W. Peirce
7GEDCO, 815 Eighth Ave. S.W., Calgary, Alberta T2P 3E2, Canada. E-mail: jwpeirce@gedco.com.
Search for other works by this author on:
J. D. Phillips
J. D. Phillips
3U. S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, Federal Center MS 964, Denver, Colorado 80225. E-mail: tien@usgs.gov;jeff@usgs.gov.
Search for other works by this author on:
M. E. Ruder
M. E. Ruder
8Wintermoon Geotechnologies, Inc., 280 Columbine, Suite 301, Denver, Colorado 80206. E-mail: meruder@wintermoon.com.
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2010

Abstract

The gravity method was the first geophysical technique to be used in oil and gas exploration. Despite being eclipsed by seismology, it has continued to be an important and sometimes crucial constraint in a number of exploration areas. In oil exploration the gravity method is particularly applicable in salt provinces, overthrust and foothills belts, underexplored basins, and targets of interest that underlie high-velocity zones. The gravity method is used frequently in mining applications to map subsurface geology and to directly calculate ore reserves for some massive sulfide orebodies. There is also a modest increase in the use of gravity techniques in specialized investigations for shallow targets.

Gravimeters have undergone continuous improvement during the past 25 years, particularly in their ability to function in a dynamic environment. This and the advent of global positioning systems (GPS) have led to a marked improvement in the quality of marine gravity and have transformed airborne gravity from a regional technique to a prospect-level exploration tool that is particularly applicable in remote areas or transition zones that are otherwise inaccessible. Recently, moving-platform gravity gradiometers have become available and promise to play an important role in future exploration.

Data reduction, filtering, and visualization, together with low-cost, powerful personal computers and color graphics, have transformed the interpretation of gravity data. The state of the art is illustrated with three case histories: 3D modeling of gravity data to map aquifers in the Albuquerque Basin, the use of marine gravity gradiometry combined with 3D seismic data to map salt keels in the Gulf of Mexico, and the use of airborne gravity gradiometry in exploration for kimberlites in Canada.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

Geophysical References Series

Geophysics Today: A Survey of the Field as the Journal Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

Sergey Fomel
Sergey Fomel
Search for other works by this author on:
Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Volume
16
ISBN electronic:
9781560802273
Publication date:
January 01, 2010

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal