THE USE OF SPACE SATELLITE DATA IN THE EXPLORATION FOR RARE MINERALS, OIL, GAS & GROUNDWATER
For years many Exploration Companies have used satellite images in their holistic exploration for Oil & Gas, Groundwater & Minerals. However, such companies rarely demonstrate or publish practical Case-History results for predicted deposits.
The reason is simple.
There is a Geological reason for this: every mineral deposit has some effect on surface geological parameters as shown on satellite data, and it is always possible to select one correct parameter out of hundreds of those possible that the mineral deposit effects, and say: look here is the deposit!
Yet there are no two identical deposits and there are no identical geological conditions. For these reasons, the solution of the inverse problem, i.e. the search for an unknown deposit underlying certain geological images, is always a considerable challenge.
There are no standard solutions for the geological interpretation of space satellite images. The approach is always a holistic one incorporating the satellite data together with whatever additional data is available, like surface geological maps, topology, borehole data, aircraft data etc, as relevant to the specific target and the scale of exploration. For every case study, we look for new site specific exploration criteria that may vary for different deposits of different geological objectives (precious metals, oil, water etc.).
Any mineral deposit represents an anomaly, the creation of which is controlled by anomalies in the geological structure of the Earth. Such anomalies cause changes in: local geochemistry & groundwater (which may influence eg surface vegetation), and in geophysical fields (eg Aeromagnetism & Gravity) all of which can be directly observed by satellites. Additionally, many deposits have an influence on the local topology and therefore landscape, which can be seen in satellite images with the selection of the correct images and the correct processing for them.
For every case presented to CSTP, all of the existing data is fully evaluated (including but not limited to that from satellites). The local detailed geological structure of the area is then determined within the known regional tectonic framework. Finally, the geological conditions relevant to the creation of the geological objective (precious metal, oil, or water etc.) are fully evaluated together with all the most likely alternate historical evolutions of that area through geological time. One or more sites are then revealed where there is a high probability the geological objective/mineral deposit under question could be located.
So, the key to successful exploration- whether it be for Precious Metals, Oil & Gas or Groundwater is the establishment of a correct Geological Model for the area, and correctly extrapolating that back through Geological Time. This is where CSTP has a proven successful track record. Therefore, the main value of the CSTP service for exploration is the proven geological and geophysical excellence of its staff from wide-ranging backgrounds in integrating all available data, rather than any selected specific techniques or image processing.