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Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Leading Edge, Volume 42, Number 4, p.245-255 (2023)






<p>The Metal Earth project integrates geophysics, geology, geochemistry, and geochronology to improve the understanding of metal endowment in Precambrian terranes. Magnetics (airborne), gravity, magnetotellurics, and reflection seismic methods are the primary geophysical tools employed. Data were collected along 13 transects in the initial phase of the project. All geophysical tools are crucial for understanding the structure of the shallow, middle, and deeper crust and identifying pathways along which the constituents of critical minerals might have migrated from a source to a deposit. The magnetic data are used predominantly to help map the geology away from the transects, and the gravity data are useful for extending the near-surface geology to depths up to 8 km. The magnetotelluric data show the upper Archean crust to about 10 km as highly resistive, except for some conductive subvertical zones that correspond to major deformation zones, many of which are known to be metalliferous. This suggests that these conductive zones could have been hydrothermal fluid pathways feeding the mineral deposits. These zones can be traced to larger horizontal conductive zones in the midcrust. The seismic reflection data are consistent with and complement this: the upper crust is primarily nonreflective; however, the midcrust shows many horizontal reflectors, usually with a consistent dip to the north. Processing crooked-line seismic data is problematic, and techniques have been developed to improve the imaging, including multifocusing, 3D processing, full-waveform inversion, and cross-dip moveout methods. Passive seismic data have also been collected. Ambient-noise surface-wave tomography can be used to infer broad zones of similar seismic velocity between major reflectors, while receiver function analysis has been used to identify deeper structures such as horizontal features at or below the Moho and a dipping structure evident to about 70 km depth.</p>