Abstract

Rock physical properties provide the link between geophysical surveys and their geological interpretation. The British Columbia rock physical properties database, compiled by the Geological Survey of Canada, now comprises 3876 values of density, 930 values of electric resistivity, 12 356 values of magnetic susceptibility, and 2576 values of magnetic remanence and Koenigsberger ratio. The measurements are linked to sample locations, lithologies, and geological formation or unit. Maps, histograms, and biplots are used to demonstrate useful links between lithology and physical properties, and serve as a background for future rock physical properties studies. As expected, density and resistivity are controlled mostly by porosity and mineralogy. Magnetic susceptibility has a bimodal distribution (maxima at 4 × 10−4 and 2 × 10−2 SI) controlled by magnetite concentration. Magnetic remanence is shown to be more important than usually considered in magnetic survey analysis, with Koenigsberger ratios greater than unity in 42% of the samples. A case study of the Chilcotin Group basalts is highlighted, as they form a significant barrier to mineral exploration in central British Columbia. These rocks are magnetically distinct from other basalts in British Columbia, distinguished by magnetic susceptibilities having a range of values concentrated around 3 × 10−3 SI and falling in the valley between the two susceptibility modes. These basalts are also characterized by very high Koenigsberger ratios (96% above unity), probably caused by a preponderance of fine-grained single-domain magnetite. The database provides a wealth of petrophysical properties that can help constrain analysis of several types of geophysical surveys and, in particular, modelling of anomalies in the quest to determine the three-dimensional distribution of rock units.

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