Abstract

Large lakes have always represented a problem for regional gravity databases; the difficulty of access means gaps or coarse spacing in the sampling. Satellite, airborne, and shipborne gravity techniques are options, but the resolution and/or cost of these systems make them impractical or inaccurate for exploration or environmental studies, where the required resolution is <0.1mGal/km. In this study, the feasibility of a ground gravity survey over a frozen lake where ice moves because of windy conditions is assessed. Lake Wanapitei, widely accepted as resulting from the impact of a meteorite 37 million years ago, is one of these cases in which the necessity of expanding coverage over poorly sampled regions arose from a significant gap between surface and airborne geophysical maps. Two gravity surveys were completed on the ice of Lake Wanapitei in the winters of 2003 and 2004. To study the structure, longtime series of gravity field measurements were recorded for 98 stations, allowing for improved control over the noise sources in the data. Final processing and integration with an existing regional data set in the area and the application of terrain corrections reduced the amplitude of the circular anomaly from 15 to 9mGal and its diameter from 11 to 6km. The feasibility of gravity surveys on ice was assessed, and we determined that for large-scale studies such as this one, the quality of the data, even under noisy conditions, was acceptable. However, for more detailed mapping, calm wind conditions and long time series are required.

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