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What is Exploration Geophysics

Exploration geophysics is the applied branch of geophysics which uses surface methods to measure the physical properties of the subsurface, in order to detect or infer the presence and position of concentrations of ore minerals and hydrocarbons, e.g. Seismic Method.
i) practical application of physical methods ii) measure the physical properties of rocks or subsurface geology iii) to detect the measurable physical differences between rocks that contain ore deposits or hydrocarbons.

Exploration Geophysics

Why use geophysics?

There is a need to both identify and map subsurface sediments Geophysics information can provide to some of the e.g.,



information on :subsurface architecture, stratigraphic materials relationships, variation in

Using Geophysics to Characterize the Subsurface: The Principles

Using Geophysics to Characterize the Subsurface: The Principles

What geophysics?
Different geophysical surveys measure different physical properties of the subsurface

ground surface

subsurface reflector

source instant (t=0) arrival of direct wave


arrival of reflected wave

Geophysics requires subsurface targets to contrast significantly with their surroundings choose geophysical method based on an understanding or estimate of the physical properties of the target in relation to its environment

Where should geophysics be used?

Where subsurface architecture/stratigraphy is complex Where the target produces a clear measureable signal Where data with a high signal-to-noise ratio can be obtained

What can geophysics NOT do?

All geophysical methods have an inherent limitation on resolution depends on method, instrumentation and survey parameters, as well as site conditions (geological and cultural setting)

No single survey can map all depths and/or targets

How should geophysics be used?

In conjunction with boreholes or other information that can be used to verify the results

With strong collaboration between geologist, hydrogeologist, and geophysicist from planning through interpretation

Geophysics and oil exploration

Geological Survey
Surface mapping Geochemical study Basin study

Geophysical Survey
Gravity Magnetic Seismic regional

Compilation & Interpretation Data

Drilling & Testing

Coring Logging Testing

Formation Evaluation
Prospect Analysis Risk Analysis Reserve Calculation Economical Study


Build Platform Production Facilities Production Drilling Development Wells
AVO Inversion Seismic Attributes

3-D Seismic Survey

: Exploration Works : Development Works

Important facts in exploration geophysics

- Two types of geophysics are available based

on the source of tool.

-We use the relative variations in the physical properties of the earth not absolute values. - The rocks and earth materials have overlapped values of the physical properties. - The application of geophysical tools depend on the target of study and nature of the objects.

Geophysical methods are divided into two types: Active and Passive Passive methods (Natural Sources): Incorporate measurements of natural occurring fields or properties of the earth. Ex. SP, Magnetotelluric (MT), Telluric, Gravity, Magnetic. Active Methods (Induced Sources) : A signal is injected into the earth and then measure how the earth respond to the signal. Ex. DC. Resistivity, Seismic Refraction, IP, EM, Mise-A-LA-Masse, GPR.

Velocity of seismic waves and materials P- Waves (Compression)

S- Waves (Shear)

Mineral Densities

Potential Radar exploration depth


Physical principles of exploration methods : an introductory text for geology and geophysics students, Beck, A. E. 1981. Seismic tomography : with applications in global seismology and exploration geophysics, Nolet, Guust 1987.

Handbook of exploration geophysics / by Paul A. Chapel, Paul A. 1992.

Exploration geophysics of the shallow subsurface, Burger, Henry Robert 1992. Exploration geophysics : a review Romberg, Frederick E. 1961. Foundation of exploration geophysics, Arnaud Gerkens, J. C. d' 1989. Basic exploration geophysics, Robinson, Edwin S. 1988. Exploration geophysics, Polshkov, Mikhail K. 1968.