A towed-streamer technology has been developed for mapping placer heavy minerals and dispersed hydrocarbon plumes in the open ocean. The approach uses induced polarization (IP), an electrical measurement that encompasses several different surface-reactive capacitive and electrochemical phenomena, and thus is ideally suited for mapping dispersed or disseminated targets. The application is operated at sea by towing active electrical geophysical streamers behind a ship; a wide area can be covered in three dimensions by folding tow-paths over each other in lawn-mower fashion. This technology has already been proven in laboratory and ocean settings to detect IP-reactive titanium-and rare-earth (REE) minerals such as ilmenite and monazite. By extension, minerals that weather and accumulate/concentrate by a similar mechanism, including gold, platinum, and diamonds, may be rapidly detected and mapped indirectly even when dispersed and covered with thick, inert sediment. IP is also highly reactive to metal structures such as pipelines and cables. ?? 2011 MTS.
Additional publication details
An open-water electrical geophysical tool for mapping sub-seafloor heavy placer minerals in 3D and migrating hydrocarbon plumes in 4D