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A monograph describing the state-of-the-art of the induced polarization (IP) method appropriately records the evolution of its development and mention of those who were involved. Electrical polarization effects in soils and rocks were first recognized by Dr. Conrad Schlumberger about 1911 in France at a time when geophysics was first being considered as an aid to mineral prospecting. World War I intervened and Schlumberger’s work in IP investigations was sidetracked. During the 1920s Schlumberger began to work on borehole logging methods for petroleum exploration. After 1929, the U.S.S.R. embarked upon an extensive geophysical program for exploring for petroleum in the Grozny region north of the Caucasus. Experimentation with IP logging for formation evaluation was investigated but failed due to poor instrumentation. During the 1930s, there were a number of attempts to use the polarization technique for the detection of oil and ore bodies.

During World War II, the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory worked on an electrical polarization technique for detecting explosive mines in water. After the war Dr. D.F. Bleil, with assistance of the U.S. Geological Survey, field tested the technique in two mineralized areas. The idea was brought to the attention of Newmont Mining Corporation by Radio Frequency Laboratories located in Boonton, New Jersey, and Dr. Arthur Brant, University of Toronto, was brought in as a consultant. In the fall of 1948, Dr. H.O. Seigel demonstrated that the IP method was reliable. In 1949 Newmont Exploration Ltd. was quickly established in Jerome, Arizona under the leadership of Dr. Brant to investigate and exploit the IP method. In the fall of 1952, a group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology headed by Dr. Ted Madden began to investigate the IP phenomenon and work was carried out in association with several mining companies. At the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Dr. V. Vacquier and his group attempted in 1953 to apply IP techniques to groundwater exploration. Between 1955 and 1960, several universities in the United States began to investigate the IP phenomenon and a few mining companies started their own research groups.

Since 1951, interest in the IP method has risen steadily in the U.S.S.R. Other research in IP in Europe was scattered with investigations carried out in the German Democratic Republic, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and France.

After 1960, as equipment became more readily available, the IP method was accepted worldwide. During the last of the 1960s, research workers began to look at complex resistivity measurements for discriminating between metallic and nonmetallic conductors such as graphite. By 1973, equipment became available to make amplitude and phase measurements. Studies by several workers in the U.S.S.R., Canada, and the U.S. were extended to investigate the nonlinear effects for sulfide discrimination at high and low current densities. Inductive electromagnetic methods proved unsuccessful in producing polarization responses. However, one company developed the magnetic induced polarization method whereby current is introduced into the ground through a pair of electrodes and the response is measured with the ac magnetometer. More recently attempts are being made to detect hydrocarbon deposits, either directly or indirectly.

Innovations in the IP method are continuing and as new technologies are developed they are rapidly incorporated into new field instrumentation. Future growth of the IP method will depend on the global demand for metal and energy products.

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