Abstract

We present a study on utilizing airborne gravity gradient and magnetic data to characterize an iron ore formation in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The target iron ore bodies have a distinctly high density contrast and produce well-defined anomalies in airborne gravity gradiometry data. The high-grade hematite iron ores are associated with low and moderate susceptibility, making magnetic data useful in distinguishing potential ore bodies from the host iron formation. The airborne gravity gradient and magnetic data over part of the Gandarela Syncline iron formation in the Quadrilátero Ferrífero are independently inverted to obtain a 3D susceptibility and density contrast model. These detailed 3D physical property distributions of subsurface features are then used for geologic characterization and interpretation purposes through lithologic associations. We outline two approaches to link the two physical property distributions and identify representative geologic units in the study area. The geologic units are then organized into a 3D lithology model to help characterize subsurface geologic structure and ore distribution. The lithologic models provide an intuitive representation of the geology and can assist in future exploration plans or in assessment of resource distribution and quality. Our study demonstrates that such approaches are feasible on the deposit scale.

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