Geological Science and Engineering

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Student Receives SEGCF Research Grant

Congratulations to Kiyavash Parvar on receiving a research grant from the Society of Economic Geologists Canada Foundation (SEGCF).

More information about SEGF awards is available on the SEG website.

The following is the successful research proposal for the SEGCF gant:

Although the costs of mineral exploration are rising and the commodity prices follow a similar pattern, employing high tech methods for geophysical exploration has always been important for leading edge mining industry. As mineral exploration is the very first approach in mining operations and as geomagnetic methods play a key role in this initial step, using magnetometry in order to detect anomalies and later to identify the potent spots for further exploration is unavoidable.

Airborne magnetic surveys are mostly carried out using manned airplanes or helicopters associated risks to human life. Terrestrial surveys require man-power with similar risks involved, especially in remote areas or under harsh environmental conditions. Our proposed method will employ unmanned UAVs which are commanded by a ground station with no human involvement beyond programming the desired flight path. While the spatial extend of the area covered cannot reach the manned aircraft performance, it exceeds the terrestrial coverage. At the same time, a UAV can be operated at much lower altitudes which increases the achievable spatial resolution. Ultimately, it can provide a spatial resolution which is in between the manned aircraft and the terrestrial surveys. In addition, it is capable to produce 3-D magnetic maps.

The accuracy of the magnetometers is another important consideration, and due to the limited payload of UAVs, the magnetometer must be light-weight to enable sufficient flight time and areal coverage. The instruments we propose to integrate include a Honeywell HMR2300 fluxgate magnetometer (90 grams) with an accuracy of less than 10 nT. In addition, we have the ability to integrate a Geometrics Caesium vapor airborne magnetometer (1000 - 2700 grams) with sub-nT accuracy. The two UAVs we have acquired include a DJI Phantom 2 and a DJI Spreading Wings S900, the latter has a payload of up to 5 kg.

Our approach shall enable mineral exploration using magnetometry to better constrain magnetization of the source material as well as better constraints of the target volume and geometry, We achieve that by exploiting the proximity of the UAV to the surface as well as through inversion of the gradiometry observations obtained from the 3-D magnetic data.

Congratulations Kiyavash!