Deep-sea massive sulfide deposits formed by hydrothermal fluid circulation are potential metal resources. They can exist not only as mound manifestations on the seafloor (seafloor massive sulfides) but also as embedded anomalies buried beneath the seafloor (embedded massive sulfides). The distribution of embedded massive sulfides is largely unknown, despite their expected high economic value. Recent drilling surveys have revealed a complex model suggesting embedded massive sulfides coexist beneath seafloor massive sulfides. In the coexisting case, geophysical methods are required to distinguish and map seafloor and embedded massive sulfides for accurate resource estimation. Marine controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) methods are useful for mapping massive sulfides because they exhibit higher electrical conductivity compared with the surrounding host rock. However, CSEM applications capable of distinguishing and mapping the massive sulfides are lacking. We use a towed electric dipole transmitter with two types of receivers: stationary ocean-bottom electric (OBE) and short-offset towed receivers. This combination uses differences in sensitivity: the towed receiver data are sensitive to seafloor massive sulfides, and the stationary OBE receiver data are sensitive to embedded massive sulfides. Our synthetic data example demonstrates that the combined inversion of towed and OBE data can recover resistivities and positions of the massive sulfides more accurately than existing inversion methods using individual applications. We perform the combined inversion of measured CSEM data obtained from the middle Okinawa Trough. The inversion models demonstrate that a combined inversion can map the location and shape of embedded massive sulfides identified during drilling more accurately than the inversion of individual data sets.

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