We have developed a novel semiairborne frequency-domain electromagnetic (EM) system and successfully tested it within the DESMEX project. The semiairborne approach relies on the fact that part of the system is positioned on the ground and the rest is airborne. This allows us to take advantage of ground and airborne techniques. In particular, a high-moment transmitter can be installed on the earth’s surface, which enables us to inject and induce strong EM fields in the subsurface. Moreover, galvanic coupling is possible, which is an advantage if additional ground stations are deployed. The airborne receivers allow easier, significantly faster, and more uniform spatial coverage of the study area than the ground receivers. In our implementation, transmitters and electric field receivers are installed on the ground. Magnetic field sensors, such as commercially available fluxgate, total field magnetometers, and newly developed induction coils, are installed on a helicopter-towed bird. First, we describe the results of a semiairborne survey performed in a selected area with ancient mining located in the Saxothuringian zone near Schleiz, Germany. A 3D semiairborne inversion model represents several conductive anomalies, which agree well with the outcrop of alum shale formations at the surface. In addition, the shallow parts of the semiairborne model are compared with the result of an independent helicopter-borne survey, which consists of stepwise 1D models.

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