PACIFIC OBJECTIVES AND RESULTS

OBJECTIVES

PACIFIC aims at developing radically new, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly mineral exploration techniques.

PACIFIC approach builds on the “traditional” passive seismic method which uses large arrays of autonomous seismometers deployed at the surface.

These seismometers record ambient seismic noise generated by traffic, ocean waves, quarrying activities, or atmospheric effects, thus providing useful background information about the geological and structural setting of mineralised regions.

However, the technique relies on surface waves that attenuate rapidly with depth, and lacks the resolution needed for reliable identification of ore bodies.

Two radically new developments are therefore planned in the PACIFIC project:

Figure 1: Passive reflection seismic technique.

THE PASSIVE REFLECTION SEISMIC TECHNIQUE

This technique is appropriate for greenfields exploration. In this technique, PACIFIC partners will extract body waves from ambient seismic noise and use them to detect reflections at geological interfaces.

Figure 2: Multi-array passive seismic imaging technique.

THE MULTI-ARRAY PASSIVE SEISMIC IMAGING TECHNIQUE

This technique is typically deployed during drilling or in brownfields exploration. Here PACIFIC partners will use two types of arrays – one at the surface and another deployed vertically in drill holes. This will dramatically increase the depth resolution of the method.

RESULTS

By the end of the project, PACIFIC will provide the mineral exploration industry with a new tool for exploring the subsurface, by making two major improvements to the traditional method and bringing it closer to industrial exploitation.

The project will also contribute to increasing public acceptance of mineral exploration activities by providing an environmentally friendly complement to current exploration techniques.

PACIFIC is therefore promoting passive seismic techniques in order to provide invaluable information about the sub-surface for mineral exploration, with minimal impact on local populations as well as on the environment.

Work at Marathon test site (Canada).

The product will be a new mineral exploration tool that will provide detailed 3D information on the subsurface and will be able to image small targets without the financial and environmental burden of the active seismic approach.

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Core samples from drilling in Scandinavia

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