High Resolution Geophysical Survey
Airborne Geophysics for Rare Earth Element Deposits (AGREED) Project

graphic of geophysical survey with airplane

What Constitutes a High Resolution Geophysical Survey?

  • Designed to resolve:
    • low signal
    • information between lines
  • Line Spacing / Flight Height: < 2 (Ideal = 1)
  • Fly close to the ground with narrow line spacing

All industry surveys were flown at low altitudes (80 to 100 m above ground) with 100 to 200 m flight line spacing. Both fixed wing and helicopters were used.

Low Resolution vs. High Resolution

Scientific benefits of working with high resolution geophysical data are numerous, not the least of which is the wealth of information provided in the detail. The images below show the "before" and "after" of USGS magnetic survey with 1600 m line spacing, compared to the magnetic survey flown by UCore over Bokan Mtn with 100 m line spacing. The resolution provided in the UCore survey allows for detailed mapping of the host rocks, controlling structures, and mineralized system. The UCore data provides more than 10 times the resolution of the older USGS survey.

Bokan Mountain magnetic data - USGS 1600 m line spacingMagnetic anomaly map from a USGS survey with 1600 m line spacing. Bokan Mountain magnetic - UCore 100 m line spacingMagnetic anomaly map from UCore survey with 100 m line spacing.

Multiple Sensors Collecting Data Concurrently

Another obvious benefit working with high resolution survey data is that all the industry surveys had multiple sensors on board collecting data simultaneously. For example, both the Bear Lodge and Bokan surveys include magnetic and gamma-ray data. The gamma-ray data is especially useful over exposed REE deposits as we can begin to understand the relationship between the radioelements (uranium [U], thorium [Th], and potassium [K]) and the concentrations of rare earth elements (REE) within the host and mineralized rocks. For the USGS Bokan study, our geophysicist is working closely with our mineralogist to understand the REE mineralogy as it relates to the uranium, thorium, and potassium minerals. Thru this process, connections are made that allow interpretation of the airborne geophysical data in the context of rare earth deposit setting and mineralization.

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