WorldWide Drilling Resource

18 NOVEMBER 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® 257 Caroline Street Punxsutawney, PA 15767 800-927-0560 • 814-427-2555 Fax: 814-427-5164 SERVINGTHECONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Serving the Drilling Industry Groundwater Week Booth 1001 Geophysical Applications Inspired by Medical Imaging Methods Adapted from Information by Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) Knowledge about the structure and composition of the earth’s crust is important for understanding the overall dynamics of the planet. For example, the presence or absence of melt or fluids plays a major role in plate tectonic processes. Most knowledge in this area is gained from geophysical surveys. However, the relationship between measurable geophysical parameters and the actual conditions in the earth’s interior is often ambiguous. LMU geophysicist Max Moorkamp developed a new method to help improve this state of uncertainty. With his technique, data on the distribution of electrical conductivity and density in the earth’s crust is combined and processed using a method derived from medical imaging. “The advantage is that the relationships between the two parameters are part of the analysis,” said Moorkamp. “For geophysical applications, this is completely new.” Moorkamp was able to show previous assumptions about spatial distribution of magma and fluids in the western United States may be overly simplified. Based on measurements of electrical conductivity, researchers previously assumed molten rock (magma) and fluids are widespread in geologically young and active regions, whereas older and stable regions are virtually fluid free. “However, the new results show a more complicated picture,” added Moorkamp. The electrical conductivity of molten rock and fluids is very similar to that of solid graphite and sulfides, in contrast to melts and fluids; however, these are a sign of old geologic activity. Moorkamp was able to distinguish between the two for the first time and demonstrate even in the highly active region around Yellowstone, fluid-dominated structures are directly adjacent to fluid-free areas with graphite and sulfides. From these findings, he concluded that compared to current geologic activity, geologic history - or earlier plate tectonic processes - have much greater influence on the location of fluids than previously assumed. This could require a revision of previous results not only in the United States but around the globe. In addition, the technique could be useful in searching for geothermal energy or mineral deposits. GEO