P-wave velocity measurements for preliminary assessments of the mineralization in seafloor massive sulfide mini-cores during drilling operations.

Spagnoli, Giovanni, Weymer, Bradley A. , Jegen, Marion , Spangenberg, Erik and Petersen, Sven (2017) P-wave velocity measurements for preliminary assessments of the mineralization in seafloor massive sulfide mini-cores during drilling operations. Open Access Engineering Geology, 226 . pp. 316-325. DOI 10.1016/j.enggeo.2017.07.003.

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Supplementary data:

Abstract

Highlight

• It is important to develop systems able to detect and classify mineralized zones from waste materials while drilling deep-water;
• Seismic P-wave velocities (Vp) were measured on 40 SMS and unmineralized mini-cores;
• The porosity was back-calculated from Vp;
• The results were compared with electrical resistivity measurements;
• Using Archie’s Law, it is possible to observe that metallic conduction exists.

Abstract

Deep-sea mining exploration for seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits is currently increasing. At present, most exploration activities are surficial and use indirect methods to identify potential sites and perform first assessments. For a proper resource estimate, however, drilling is inevitable. By using seabed drill rigs, exploration costs can be reduced considerably. SMS deposits are normally found at depths between 1000 and 4000 m and in order for deep sea mining to be implemented, reliable technologies are needed. Additionally, the development of geophysical systems that can detect and classify mineralized zones from waste materials while drilling could decrease costs and speed up offshore operations by limiting the amount of drilling of unmineralized materials. This paper shows how the physical properties of SMS can be used to discriminate between host rocks and mineralization. Seismic P-wave velocities (Vp) were measured on 40 SMS and unmineralized mini-cores. By back-calculating the porosity from Vp, comparing the results with electrical resistivity measurements, and using Archie's Law, it is possible to observe that metallic conduction exists. For deep-sea mineral exploration, the combination of seismic tests, electrical resistivity and magnetic susceptibility could support the preliminary discrimination of mineralized samples in the cores while drilling at the seafloor.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Seafloor massive sulfides; Deep-sea mining; P-wave measurement; Mineralization; Petrophysical properties
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems > Marine Mineralische Rohstoffe
GFZ
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2017.07.003
ISSN: 0013-7952
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2017 10:16
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2019 23:38
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/38842

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