Abstract

By comparison with geophysical exploration for oil, geophysical prospecting in mining is of limited scope, both areawise and dollarwise. To begin with, geologic exposures are abundant in many mining districts, making the application of geophysics unnecessary. Exploration targets in mining are usually so small by comparison with the promising area that blanket exploration becomes too costly if not impossible. The geophysicist is handicapped not only by difficult transportation but difficult topography as well which in addition produces a direct effect on some of his readings. Geophysical data are difficult to interpret because of geologic complexities; to make matters worse, the methods most applicable in oil exploration such as seismic and gravimetric, are frequently of limited usefulness. A geophysicist undertaking a mining project must keep these limitations well in mind. He should not recommend the application of geophysics where no better than existing geologic information can be anticipated. If possible, he should limit the size of prospecting territory by geologic reasoning and test his methods under known conditions. Above all, he should have not only sufficient geologic training, but good geologic imagination as well when analyzing his findings. He should not oversimplify his problems nor oversell his wares. On the other hand, he should feel justified in asking a fair compensation for his services because high standards of training in both physics and geology, plus a background of long experience, are required to do a good job. The mining industry can help by supplying freely, rather than withholding, all geologic data available and by assisting in the financing of industrial research aimed at the development and perfection of new methods. Organizations specializing in geophysical mine exploration are rarely in a position to do so. Many a mining geophysicist stays with his calling not because he expects great financial returns, but because he loves his job with its variety of geophysical problems and its fascinating complexity of geology. Geophysicists in mining have committed more than their share of errors with resultant disappointment on the part of industry. However, with a better understanding of the industry's problems by the geophysicist, and the geophysicist's problems by the industry, there is no reason why the use of geophysics in mining cannot be extended.

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