KEGS/BCGS Roundup Breakfast – Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Craig Hart, Director, Mineral Deposit Research Unit, (MDRU),
University of British Columbia
Title: Smarter Exploration Opportunities are in the gap between Geology and Geophysics
Date/Time: 2020-01-21 @ 7:30am
Location: Princess Louisa Room, The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel
900 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC V6C 3L5
Registration: Online at www.kegsonline.org (Deadline Jan 19, 2020)
Smarter Exploration Opportunities are in the gap between Geology and Geophysics
Craig Hart, Director MDRU (Mineral Deposit Research Unit)
Mineral exploration is a process of progressive area reduction down to the extent of an ore body. Decision-making throughout this process, including from the initial land acquisition, is strongly informed by geological maps the distribution of geological features, so a good geological map is the best exploration decision-making tool. However, most geological maps are wrong. They are representations of observations on sparse data (outcrops) assembled and subjectively interpolated with the benefit of the map maker’s accumulated experiences. Fortunately, all geological maps can be easily, and often significantly, improved with the integration of information from geophysical and physical property datasets thus providing a superior decision-making tool. These improvements can be made at all scales from regional scales to map limits of large tectonic elements like terrane boundaries, to simply improve every regional-scale (1:500k to 1:25k) geological map ever produced, to the drill target scale where the geometry of geological features can be better discerned.
The opportunity to improve geological knowledge from geophysical data is huge since the vast majority of geophysical datasets inform on regional to property scale geological frameworks, not orebodies, but most of this data is never utilized. Most geologists lack the skills to extract geological information from geophysical data other than using crayons to indiscriminately draw lines. MDRU have developed a range of tools and approaches to defining and extracting geological features from geophysical data that range from simple and pragmatic to the complex integration of derived datasets.
Understanding relationships between rocks and geophysical responses requires an understanding of rock physical properties. Although most exploration geologists are familiar with magnetic susceptibility and density data since it is routinely collected during core logging, few geologists know how to evaluate and utilize the data to interpret geological features. So although there is increasing recognition of the potential value of collecting physical property data, utilizing these data either to interpret regional geophysical datasets, to create geological models, or to constrain inversions remains an on-going challenge.
The geological information available at the surface is mostly too sparse and limiting to provide a confident base to inform smart exploration decisions, particularly in regions of cover. So ultimately geological maps should be replaced with 3D models of the geological framework of the upper crust. This effort is best done using a contiguous, data-rich environment where geological and geophysical data sets are informed by physical properties and constrained geophysical inversions that are integrated by an experienced geoscientist, probably driving a set of Machine Learning algorithms.
About the Author:
Dr. Craig Hart;
B.Sc. McMaster University (1986), M.Sc. University of BC (1995), University of Western Australia (2005).
Craig Hart is the Director of MDRU – Mineral Deposit Research Unit at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he initiates and facilitates a wide range of mineral exploration industry-sponsored research projects that focus on gold and porphyry systems, regional metallogeny and exploration methods. Craig has degrees from McMaster University (BSc 1986), University of British Columbia (MSc 1995) and University of Western Australia (2005) spacing academic intervals over three decades separated by employment in industry and government. Craig previously worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Exploration Targeting at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth where he pursued research gold metallogeny of China and Mongolia. Most of Craig’s early career was with the Yukon Geological Survey where he undertook regional mapping and metallogenic surveys in the northern Cordillera. He played a significant role in developing intrusion-related gold models, and understanding redox controls on regional metallogeny.
Craig has considerable field and mapping experience which he integrates with geochronology, geochemistry and geophysics to develop new exploration concepts and targets. He has raised >$20M in research funding to contribute to the training of more than 40 graduate students and 20 senior researchers. He provides advanced ore deposit and mineral exploration training to students and industry, has given presentations and short courses throughout the world, and consults to a range of major and junior explorers. Dr. Hart was awarded the Geological Association of Canada Boldy Award for the best mineral deposit-related presentation in 2005, and was the SEG Distinguished Lecturer of the Society of Economic Geologists in 2010. In 2016 Craig led his team to 5th place in the Integra Gold Rush Challenge, and also took home the “Audience Choice Award” for his engaging presentation.