Abstract

Recent improvements in equipment quality make it possible to increase the usefulness of airborne electromagnetic (EM) systems in areas of moderate electrical conductivity for the purpose of constructing simple electrical property maps which can be related to surficial geology. This application of airborne electromagnetics may be demonstrated and evaluated using Barringer/Questor Mark VI Input (super ) survey results in places where independent verifications of the airborne data interpretation are available.For this purpose we have developed a set of computer algorithms which read digitally recorded Input data and interpret them automatically in terms of a simple electrical section that is defined by a single conductive layer whose thickness, conductivity, and subsurface depth are determined from the data. Because this technique is formally based on a one-dimensional, three-layer, three-parameter, horizontally stratified earth model, it is only applicable in regions where the surficial formations are mildly dipping and the conductive layer is covered by, and rests on, highly resistive materials.The interpretation method is illustrated by three field examples. At the first field survey site, in Alberta, Canada, airborne EM survey data are used to map the depth of the interface between coarse and clayey sands. Data from a second survey site, this time in the Western USA, are interpreted to yield the section of a subsurface valley filled with conductive clay. The final example, taken from British Columbia, Canada, involves the mapping of all the three parameters for a weathered volcanic unit.

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