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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Magnetic susceptibility scaling of rocks using geostatistical analysis : an approach to geologic and geophysical model integration Pizarro, Nicolás


Rock physical properties are usually associated with important geologic features within mineral deposits and can be used to define the location, depth and size of the deposit, type of ore, or physical property contrast between the host and country rock. Geophysical surveys are sensitive to physical properties and therefore are widely used in mining exploration, especially in concealed terrains. The surveys can be performed at multiple scales, resulting in corresponding physical property datasets at different scales. Survey scale can vary from core or hand sample, involving few cubic centimeters, to regional-scale surveys providing information about physical property contrasts between distinct regional geological features. The understanding of the relationship between the physical property distributions with the sample volume (e.g. district, deposit, and drill-hole scale) is required where point scale physical property measurements are going to be consistent with measurements at larger volumetric scales during the integration of data for geophysical modeling The approach used to address the problem of understanding the scaling relations of physical properties, was achieved by considering them as second order stationary regionalized variables and then applying the random function formalism, provided by geostatistics theory. Geostatistics provide the required framework to characterize, quantify, model and link the spatial variability of the random variable at the different volumetric scales. The aim of this study is to apply geostatistics to effectively integrate data collected at several scales and bring knowledge to the understanding of the scaling relations of magnetic susceptibility. For this purpose, measurements of magnetic susceptibility available from Flin Flon copper-zinc district in Canada will be used. The data available at point scale were collected with hand portable magnetic susceptibility meter. The larger volumetric scale dataset were acquired using frequency domain electromagnetic instruments capable of measuring larger sample volumes, and then used to obtain magnetic susceptibility models using geophysical inversion algorithms. Once different scale models of magnetic susceptibility were available, quantification of the scaling relation using geostatistics, specifically variogram models and dispersion variance were determined. The understanding provided by the scaling analysis of the Flin-Flon magnetic data is applied to data from the Rio Blanco copper district in central Chile. Magnetic susceptibility measurements collected with a hand magnetic susceptibility meter on drill-core is integrated in larger scale volumes used for geophysical inversion modeling of regional scale airborne magnetic field measurements to recover magnetic susceptibility models. The methodology resulting from this application of geostatistics is used to address the problem of integrating multiple scales of physical property data in an effective way. The resulting physical property models capture the small-scale magnetic susceptibility variability observed and can guide larger-scale variability within geophysical inversion models. Establishing reliable statistical correlations between physical properties and rock units controlling ore within deposits are crucial steps leading predictive mine exploration tools. Any numerical modeling approach to establish these correlations should consider in some way the scaling nature of both physical property and ore content.

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