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A first application of a marine inductive source electromagnetic configuration with remote electric dipole receivers: Palinuro Seamount, Tyrrhenian SeaNormal access

Authors: R. Safipour, S. Holz, M. Jegen and A. Swidinsky
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 66, No 7, September 2018 pp. 1415 - 1432
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12646
Organisations: Wiley
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 24.32Mb )

We study a new marine electromagnetic configuration that consists of a ship-towed inductive source transmitter and a series of remote electric dipole receivers placed on the seafloor. The approach was tested at the Palinuro Seamount in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, at a site where massive sulphide mineralization has been previously identified by shallow drilling. A 3Dmodel of the Palinuro study area was created using bathymetry data, and forward modelling of the electric field diffusion was carried out using a finite volume method. These numerical results suggest that the remote receivers can theoretically detect a block of shallowly buried conductive material at up to ∼100 m away when the transmitter is located directly above the target.We also compared the sensitivity of the method using either a horizontal loop transmitter or a vertical loop transmitter and found that when either transmitter is located directly above the mineralized zone, the vertical loop transmitter has sensitivity to the target at a farther distance than the horizontal loop transmitter in the broadside direction by a few tens of metres. Furthermore, the vertical loop transmitter is more effective at distinguishing the seafloor conductivity structure when the vertical separation between transmitter and receiver is large due to the bathymetry. As a horizontal transmitter is logistically easier to deploy, we conducted a first test of the method with a horizontal transmitter. Apparent conductivities are calculated from the electric field transients recorded at the remote receivers. The analysis indicates higher apparent seafloor conductivities when the transmitter is located near the mineralized zone. Forward modelling suggests that the best match to the apparent conductivity data is obtained when the mineralized zone is extended southward by 40 m beyond the zone of previous drilling. Our results demonstrate that the method adds value to the exploration and characterization of seafloor massive sulphide deposits.

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