Two-dimensional inverse and three-dimensional forward modeling of MT (magnetotelluric) data to evaluate the mineral potential of the Amphitheater Mountains, Alaska, USA

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Abstract

As part of an integrated geological and geophysical study to assess the mineral potential in the Amphitheater Mountains of south-central Alaska, USA, two magnetotelluric (MT) profiles were acquired during the summer of 2002. The two parallel MT lines, along with helicopter electromagnetic (HEM) and magnetic data acquired by the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys and new detailed U.S. Geological Survey gravity data, are being used to investigate a feeder system to a Late Triassic flood basalt, the Nikolai Greenstone. The platinum-group-element-bearing, layered, and mafic-ultramafic sills of the Fish Lake and Tangle complexes and the geophysical responses suggest the presence of a substantial root of ultramafic material below the Amphitheater synform and several conductive, dense, magnetic, and possibly sulfide-bearing lenses within the surrounding Tangle Formation. The Amphitheater synform was defined by a prominent magnetic anomaly and the repetition of geologic units. Data from the HEM survey were used to assess and correct static shifts in the MT data. A striking conductivity anomaly was observable in the MT apparent resistivity data at sites on each line. Two-dimensional (2-D) inversion was used to model the geometry of the synform structure, electrical properties related to possible mineralization in the top few kilometers, and a feeder root to the magmatic system substantiated with potential field and geological models. The synform plunges to the west with the highly conductive zone ranging from depths of roughly 1.5 to 3.5 km where sampled. Two sensitivity analyses were performed to aid in assessment decisions. First, 2-D models were evaluated from several algorithms, including the rapid-relaxation inversion, the conjugate-gradient method, and Occam?s inversion with the use of different combinations of the apparent resistivity and phase for the transverse electric and magnetic modes. Second, a three-dimensional forward model, developed from the 2-D MT models and other geophysical and geological information, was constructed to further understand the response that could not be fit with the 2-D models.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Two-dimensional inverse and three-dimensional forward modeling of MT (magnetotelluric) data to evaluate the mineral potential of the Amphitheater Mountains, Alaska, USA
DOI 10.1071/ASEG2003_3DEMab012
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 7 p.
Larger Work Title Proceedings of the 3DEM-3 symposium: Three dimensional electromagnetics III: ASEG Special Publications 2003(1)
Conference Title 3DEM-3 Symposium: Three Dimensional Electromagnetics III
Conference Location Adelaide, Australia
Conference Date February 20-21, 2003
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Amphitheater Mountains
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