Application of the Seismic Reflection Method in Mineral Exploration and Crustal Imaging : Contributions to Hardrock Seismic Imaging

Abstract: The seismic reflection method has been used extensively in mineral exploration and for imaging crustal structures within hardrock environments. In this research the seismic reflection method has been used and studied to address problems associated with hardrock settings. Papers I and II, address delineating and imaging a sulfide ore body and its surrounding rocks and structures in Garpenberg, central Sweden, at an active mine. 3D ray-tracing and finite-difference modeling were performed and the results suggest that although the detection of the ore body by the seismic reflection method is possible in the area, the presence of backfilled stopes in the mine makes seismic imaging of it difficult. In paper III the deeper structures of the Pärvie fault system in northern Sweden were revealed down to about 8 km through 2D seismic reflection profiling. The resulting images were interpreted using microearthquake data as a constraint. Based on the interpretation, some locations were suggested for future scientific deep drilling into the fault system. In paper IV, the seismic signature of complex geological structures of the Cue-Weld Range area in Western Australia was studied using a portion of a deep 2D seismic reflection profile. The pronounced reflections on the seismic images were correlated to their corresponding rock units on an available surface geological map of the study area. 3D constant velocity ray-tracing was performed to constrain the interpretation. Furthermore, the proposed structural model was tested using a 2D acoustic finite-difference seismic modeling method. Based on this study, a new 3D structural model was proposed for the subsurface of the area. These studies have investigated the capability of the seismic reflection method for imaging crustal structures within challenging hardrock and complex geological settings and show some its potential, but also its limitations.