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Vertical seismic profiling using distributed acoustic sensing with scatter-enhanced fibre-optic cable at the Cu–Au New Afton porphyry deposit, British Columbia, CanadaNormal access

Authors: G. Bellefleur, E. Schetselaar, D. Wade, D. White, R. Enkin and D.R. Schmitt
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 68, No 1, January 2020 pp. 313 - 333
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12828
Organisations: Wiley
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 18.45Mb )

Wireline logs and vertical seismic profile data were acquired in two boreholes intersecting the main mineralized zone at the Cu–Au New Afton porphyry deposit, Canada, with the objectives of imaging lithological contacts, fault zones that may have acted as conduits that channelled the mineralization, and alteration zones. Log data provide physical rock properties for the main lithologies and alteration zones. Calliper logs reveal many faults and caved-in zones generally indicating rocks with low integrity at the borehole wall. The preponderance of these zones, as indicated by the logs, suggests that their response may dominate the seismic-reflection wavefield. Outside fault zones, compressional and shear-wave velocities exhibit significant variability due to porosity, the heterogeneity of volcanic fragmental rocks and alteration. Distributed acoustic sensing was used to acquire vertical seismic profiling data in the two boreholes surveyed with wireline logs. Straight and helically wound fibre-optic cables housed standard fibres and a fibre engineered to increase the intensity of backscattering at the distributed acoustic sensing interrogator. Standard and engineered optical fibres placed in the two boreholes were daisy-chained together to form two 5-km-long continuous fibres that were interrogated at once with two interrogators. A new generation of interrogator connected to the engineered fibres provided field data with lower noise level and higher signal-to-noise ratio. These data with higher signal-to-noise ratio from straight fibre-optic cable were processed and used for depth imaging. Depth images benefitted from new migration weights that account for the directional sensitivity of the straight fibre-optic cable and limit the extent of migration artefacts. Migration results show several reflectors with shallow dips to the northwest, some explained by faults intersecting the surveyed boreholes. The main sub-vertical lithological and alteration contacts at New Afton generated downgoing reflections that were not considered in the migration.

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