DOI: 10.3390/min13081098 ISSN:

3D Multicomponent Self-Potential Inversion: Theory and Application to the Exploration of Seafloor Massive Sulfide Deposits on Mid-Ocean Ridges

Zhongmin Zhu, Chunhui Tao, Zhigang Shan, André Revil, Zhaoyang Su, Zuofu Nie, Jinsong Shen, Xianming Deng, Jianping Zhou
  • Geology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

The marine self-potential (SP) method is currently playing an increasing role in the exploration and resource evaluation of seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits. SP surveys are conducted using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), which yield multicomponent electric field datasets. By comparing with the single-component electrical field data used to date, the inversion of these multicomponent data is expected to provide a more accurate description of the 3D structure of SMS deposits beneath the seafloor (like gradiometry in gravity surveys). We introduce an inversion algorithm specifically adapted to multicomponent SP data. A synthetic model demonstrates that the inversion of multicomponent datasets allows us to better recover the amplitude of the current density and the morphology of the ore bodies compared to using a single component of the electrical field. Next, we apply our approach to a multicomponent SP dataset collected during the DY58 oceanic cruise at the Yuhuang hydrothermal field on the Southwest Indian Ridge. Subsequently, we reconstruct the three-dimensional (3D) geometry of the SMS deposits beneath the seafloor. The AUV-based SP system with the collection of multicomponent SP data inversion appears to be a powerful tool in the exploration and evaluation of seafloor sulfide resource and, in the future, could be used in concert with induced polarization data.

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