Two-dimensional (2-D) models of audio and broadband magnetotelluric (MT) data collected throughout the southern Nechako basin in south–central British Columbia, Canada, provide electrical resistivity images of the Cretaceous to Oligocene volcanic and sedimentary packages and underlying crustal-scale features. Analysis of distortion effects and structural dimensionality indicate that the MT responses are primarily one-dimensional (1-D) at periods less than 0.1 s. Departures from a 1-D response occur with maximum phase differences occurring between 0.1 and 10 s. The upper crustal resistivity models reveal a low resistivity layer at near surface depths, interpreted as Chilcotin basalts, that blankets portions of the region to depths less than 50 m, but locally thicken up to 200 m. Cretaceous sedimentary units (those showing the highest potential for hydrocarbons) are characterized by moderately low resistivities that are laterally variable. More uniform, lower resistivities appear to be associated with the Eocene volcaniclastic groups, suggesting that the MT method can distinguish between these units and may be useful in targeting areas that are more prospective for hydrocarbon exploration. In general midcrustal resistivity values are high, consistent with values of typical volcanic terranes; however, a low-resistivity zone is identified at 8–10 km depth that correlates closely with the location of seismic reflectors as well as recent microseismic activity. This low-resistivity zone is interpreted as a midcrustal reservoir of magma, the top of which marks the upper limit of fluids migrating from lower crust depths. Additionally, several crustal-scale faults are imaged.

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