Airborne Electromagnetic Survey

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Exploration Technique: Airborne Electromagnetic Survey

Exploration Technique Information
Exploration Group: Geophysical Techniques
Exploration Sub Group: Electrical Techniques
Parent Exploration Technique: Electromagnetic Techniques
Information Provided by Technique
Lithology: provide data on rock type and mineral content
Hydrological: can be used to detect changes in density of fluids and indicate if there is salt water intrusion
Cost Information
Low-End Estimate (USD): 48.274,827 centUSD
0.0483 kUSD
4.827e-5 MUSD
4.827e-8 TUSD
/ mile
Median Estimate (USD): 317.3831,738 centUSD
0.317 kUSD
3.1738e-4 MUSD
3.1738e-7 TUSD
/ mile
High-End Estimate (USD): 1,609.00160,900 centUSD
1.609 kUSD
0.00161 MUSD
1.609e-6 TUSD
/ mile
Time Required
Low-End Estimate: 0.11 days3.011636e-4 years
2.64 hours
0.0157 weeks
0.00361 months
/ 100 mile
Median Estimate: 0.98 days0.00268 years
23.52 hours
0.14 weeks
0.0322 months
/ 100 mile
High-End Estimate: 4.66 days0.0128 years
111.84 hours
0.666 weeks
0.153 months
/ 100 mile
Additional Info
Cost/Time Dependency: Location, Size, Resolution, Terrain, Weather, # of Turns
Airborne Electromagnetic Survey:
No definition has been provided for this term.

Airborne electromagnetic surveys are used to conduct a rapid survey at a relatively low cost of a broad area to search for metallic conductors. Graphite, pyrite and or pyrrhotite are present in the bedrock and are most commonly what provides the electromagnetic response. The conductivities which is determined through the electromagnetic method varies over seven orders of magnitude between various geologic materials. The strongest responses come from massive sulphides. Fresh water on the other hand is highly resistive and will provide responses very different from salt water.
Use in Geothermal Exploration
Airborne electromagnetic surveys are used to rapidly characterize a geothermal field. The surveys can detect changes in rock type, fluid density, and even the presence of a fault carrying large amounts of water since the fault will create geologic noise compared to areas without faults. Better characterization of the geothermal field will aid with production and injection well placement.

Data Access and Acquisition
A primary man-made alternating magnetic field is established by passing a current through a coil. The field is measured with a receiver which consists of a sensitive electronic amplifier and meter or a potentiometer bridge. If the source and receiver are flown over a more conductive zone, such as an area with higher metallic content, a measurable secondary magnetic field will be created. This secondary magnetic field is compared to the original and is usually reported proportionally to the primary magnetic field. For airborne electromagnetic systems, the receiver coils are usually in a towed bird and the transmitter may be a large coil encircling a fixed wing aircraft. Or another set up is with one or more small coils in the same bird that houses the transmitting coils.
Best Practices
In the case of airborne systems, the receiver coils are usually in a towed bird and the transmitter may be a large coil encircling a fixed wing aircraft, e.g. INPUT systems, or one or more small coils in the same bird that houses the transmitting coils
Potential Pitfalls
Some areas are not appropriate for airborne electromagnetic surveys. These include semi-arid areas, particularly with internal drainage, and tidal coasts and estuaries. Also the background conductivity can influence the accuracy of the results. For example, weathered maific flows can provide strongly conductive backgrounds masking other signals. There are multiple factors that can influence the detectability of the conductor which need to be accounted for when analyzing the data. These include among many coverage, resolution, and the penetration depth of the system.

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