The people, science and technology behind discovery

Subscribe to the Magazine

Get new articles sent directly to
your mailbox.

Join the network

Twitter Updates Group Forum

Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists. Sponsored by Geosoft.

News & Views

News Archive

December 7, 2016

Geosoft introduces IP and resistivity inversion in VOXI Earth Modelling

Geosoft has added induced polarization and resistivity data inversion to its VOXI Earth Modelling 3D inversion software service. Geoscientists are now able to create detailed 3D models of conductivity and chargeability from IP and resistivity survey data with VOXI. The resulting models can assist in interpreting and targeting regions for mineral and environmental applications...

December 5, 2016

Mexico's Deepwater Round Exceeds Expectations

Some of the world's biggest oil companies showed up Dec. 5 and agreed to invest on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico, proving that deepwater exploration still has a pulse despite challenging market conditions...

November 30, 2016

Magnetic inversion results for Ngamiland available for download

A regional-scale geophysical inversion of magnetic field data in the Ngamiland region of northwestern Botswana is now available for download from the Botswana Geoscience Portal, a partnership initiative of the Botswana Geoscience Institute, industry sponsors and Geosoft...

November 30, 2016

LIGO Resumes Search for Gravitational Waves

After a series of upgrades, the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, have turned back on and resumed their search for ripples in the fabric of space and time known as gravitational waves. LIGO transitioned from their engineering test runs to full science observations at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 30...

November 9, 2016

International Volcano Scientists Unite

For the first time, the United States will host the international Volcano Observatory Best Practices workshop, previously held only in Italy. The workshop will take place this month in Vancouver, Washington. It is designed specifically for volcano observatories around the world and their staff to exchange ideas and best practices with each other...

October 4, 2016

USGS Assesses Mineral Potential for Sagebrush Habitats in Six Western States

USGS has completed a comprehensive assessment and inventory of potential mineral resources covering approximately 10 million acres of Federal and adjacent lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming...

October 3, 2016

Uganda Targets Up to U.S.$100 Million for Mineral Exploration

Uganda is well endowed with mineral resources and, like many naturally-gifted African countries, is becoming keen on ensuring that these resources play a transformative role in its long-term structural transformation dream - the Vision 2040...

September 9, 2016

Small-Scale Fishers Get A Big Boost With First-Of-Its Kind Impact Investment Fund

Conservation organization Rare announces the Meloy Fund for Small-Scale Fisheries at Our Ocean Conference. The Global Environment Facility, one of the largest funders of conservation worldwide, will be investing $6 million into the fund...

September 1, 2016

Scientists take to the skies to track West African pollution

Scientists operating research aircraft over West Africa have detected organic materials in the atmosphere over a number of urban areas, contributing to concerns of the rise in pollution across the region...

August 17, 2016

New IGS Xplore prospectivity maps for Botswana

International Geoscience Services have released a series of base metal prospectivity maps for the Ngamiland District of northwestern Botswana using free geodata available on the recently-launched Botswana Geoscience Portal, hosted by Geosoft. The maps identify favorable areas for copper, zinc and lead mineralization using geological, geochemical and geophysical datasets downloaded directly from the portal.

August 11, 2016

NexGen Makes New High Grade Discovery

NexGen Energy reported the discovery of a new high grade zone of mineralization 4.7 km northeast of the Arrow Deposit as part of an on-going summer drilling program on its 100% owned, Rook I property, Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

August 10, 2016

Rampion UXO Disposal to Take Place This Week

E.ON has confirmed that the two unexploded devices, detected along the Rampion offshore cable route will be safely disposed this week following the consultation with the Marine Management Organisation...

August 9, 2016

Diamonds In The Rough: E&Ps Find New Reserves In Mature Basins

The oil industry’s history demonstrates clearly that new plays and prospects have long been found in mature basins that were thought to be well on the way to being squeezed dry. Through the acquisition of new data, developing new concepts and coming up with fresh interpretations, long-producing basins around the world from the North Sea to Malaysia have continued to reveal new riches...

August 8, 2016

Northern Shield Identifies High Quality VTEM Targets at Séquoi

Northern Shield Resources announced the results of the interpretation and modelling of the VTEM survey from the Séquoi Property in the Labrador Trough of Quebec . Séquoi is owned 100% by Northern Shield and is being explored for Noril'sk style Ni-Cu-PGE massive sulphides. After geophysical modelling and interpretation of the VTEM data from Séquoi, six VTEM anomalies of significant interest have been identified...

August 3, 2016

Rio Tinto tailors big data drive to copper

Rio Tinto will put the weight of an exploration big data push and its newly-formed Growth and Innovation group behind its desire to identify a "tier 1" copper asset. Speaking at the annual Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said Australia was "overdue for a tier 1" mineral discovery of any type...

August 1, 2016

Tetra Tech Awarded $200 Million Navy CLEAN Contract

Tetra Tech announced that it has been awarded a $200 million, single-award contract by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic. Through the Comprehensive Long-term Environmental Action Navy (CLEAN) contract, Tetra Tech will provide environmental engineering support services to installations within the NAVFAC Atlantic Area of Responsibility...

May 3, 2016

NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS), MODUM Partners announce "Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons"

This international project cooperates closely with CHEMSEA (Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons) Project for and sharing and knowledge transfer...

April 12, 2016

Monday mad rush for gold stocks

Renewed optimism about the outlook for gold saw investors pile back into gold stocks, pushing many stock to 52-week highs in heavy volumes...

April 11, 2016

Medgold Resources: Continues to Expand the Boticas Gold Project, Portugal; Proposes $200,000 Private Placement

Medgold Resources is pleased to announce new assay results from contiguous rock-chip sampling from the Limarinho South zone at its Boticas gold project in Portugal, which include a highlight of 6.0m @ 5.7 g/t Au...

April 8, 2016

De-carbonizing our energy sector

Nuclear energy currently provides around 11 percent of the world's electricity. China, the European Union, the United States, India, Russia, South Korea, and other nations’ have major existing fleets...

April 1, 2016

Follow-Up Drilling Results Indicate Wide Gold Zones at Hendricks Gold Discovery

Gascoyne Resources Limited announced that it has received the final assay results from the 10,000 metre aircore exploration drilling programme...

March 26, 2016

The Oil Market Is Finally Hitting Its Breaking Point

After a significant reduction in investments over the past two years, oil companies can no longer overcome the production declines from legacy wells...

March 15, 2016

N-Sea Expands into the French Offshore Wind Industry

Subsea IMR provider, N-Sea, has signed a letter of intent with CERES Recherches & Expertise Sous-Marine and TechSub Industrie Environement, to provide subsea survey, installation and remediation services to the French offshore wind industry...

March 9, 2016

PDAC 2016 Convention Exceeds 22,000 Attendees

Optimism and opportunity abounded at the PDAC 2016 Convention of The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada in spite of recent industry challenges...

March 3, 2016

6 Alpha Launches EOD Contracting Division

6 Alpha Associates, a specialist risk consultancy practice, with expertise in the assessment and management of unexploded ordnance, has launched a dedicated explosive ordnance disposal division...

Quantec's Titan Technology Advantage

Virginia Heffernan

Hundreds of junior mining companies are taking advantage of the bull market for mining stocks to raise money and join the hunt for precious and base metals, uranium, and more recently molybdenum. The mineral exploration industry has not been this healthy for decades.

But for investors trying to play the market, the choice of potential investments can be overwhelming. To get their attention, juniors need to differentiate themselves from the crowd and be able to tell a convincing story, quickly and effectively.

One way to stand out is to use innovative technology that can pinpoint subsurface mineralization and display the results in a way the layman can grasp. For example, Quantec Geoscience Ltd. offers a deep imaging technology called Titan 24 that helps mining companies determine whether a property is worth drilling and provides a 3-D model of the subsurface environment they can show to shareholders or potential investors.

Like any new technology, Titan has grown and developed over time. The end result is a solution that not only helps Quantec's clients but boosts productivity within Quantec itself by using software that is standard across the company and includes a customized menu that improves workflow.

Since introducing Titan in 2000, Quantec has completed more than 125 Titan surveys around the world, including several in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan, where explorers are finding they need to probe deeper and deeper to find uranium deposits.

The key to this success was a marriage between Geosoft's data mapping software, Oasis montaj, and the powerful Titan technology.

Moving to a standard software platform was not an easy decision. Although Quantec was among the beta testers for Oasis montaj and liked its potential, the 3-D capabilities of the early version were considered rudimentary. Quantec's geophysicists were accustomed to working in a DOS- based platform using Geosoft's older Sushi software for processing data and looked to GoCad to provide the 3-D platform for visualizing data in the future. They were writing their own code to differentiate their surveys from competitors, and had developed custom menus that met all their needs.

Making a change just didn't seem worth it.

But then two things happened: First, Quantec found that fewer and fewer of its new hires were familiar with DOS-based programs, while a greater number were comfortable using Geosoft's Oasis montaj. Moreover, clients were demanding maps in Geosoft, which was quickly becoming the industry standard. By 2001, Quantec was creating maps in DOS but plotting them in Oasis montaj.

"Our clients said to us, listen, we really like GoCad, but as geologists we want to see the maps, we want them plotted to scale, and we have to be able to submit them to the government for assessment, so you must provide them to us as Geosoft plots," says Jean Legault, a senior geophysicist for Quantec.

Still, adapting to the new software wasn't easy. Quantec geophysicists were reluctant to abandon their custom menus and their control over how they plotted and interpreted data. Titan was showing promise as a significant revenue generator for the company but required a specialized menu system that third parties couldn't provide.

The breakthrough came when Geosoft designed a custom workflow solution for the Titan application. The powerful combination of a Titan-specific menu with Geosoft's ability to import, view, process, and share data sets and images in one integrated environment allowed Quantec to streamline its own workflows. Says Legault: "We were able to produce a consistent product across the company using a menu system that makes it relatively easy, and clients can download our maps from an FTP site at the scale they wish or superimpose them in MapInfo or ArcGIS."

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Geosoft was improving the 3-D modelling capabilities of its software, a feature that was becoming vitally important to both Quantec and its Titan clients.

Titan is a deep imaging system that can measure resistivity (DC), chargeability (IP) and magnetotelluric resistivity (MP) at once and explore up to depths of 750 m with IP and beyond 1.5 km with MT. Unlike traditional methods, Titan can highlight subtle features even through thick overburden.

The technology has become popular among junior companies looking for more efficient exploration techniques and among senior companies looking for deeper deposits around their mine sites that might have been missed by traditional geophysical surveys.

Titan now provides a major part of Quantec's revenue, with the rest coming from more traditional ground surveys such as electromagnetics, magnetics, IP and gravity.

One of the key advantages of the Titan system is that it can take years of historical information and integrate it with new data to provide a 3-D model that can pinpoint drill targets or extend existing reserves and resources. This feature makes it easier for geoscientists to interpret data and for juniors to communicate their results to shareholders.

But it takes powerful data-processing and mapping software to handle this amount and variety of data and still provide consistency. "To create a consistent product using multi-parameter data within Titan, you don't want the look of your maps to vary too much," says Legault. "Our standard Geosoft platform allows us to redistribute our menu systems to all our offices and even to the field. The model data are then more easily archived and named, and are transferable from one geophysicist to another and to our clients."

The switch to using standard tools has improved workflows within the Quantec offices, where creating a sophisticated map of the subsurface requires a lot of back-and-forth between geophysicists and data processors. "Now I can hand a plotting job to a non-geophysicist," says Legault. "All the things we were taught to do as young geophysicists, such as proper grid creation and contouring, can easily be extended to non-professionals using the menu system. It has really improved our throughput."

Although the custom menu is unique to the Titan technology, Legault hopes Quantec will be able to extend the system to all the services it provides.

The current stumbling block is cost. But as data volumes continue to explode, Quantec may find it can no longer afford to do without the resulting efficiencies.

"We can't possibly keep up with the advances in the operating system technology the way we used to," says Legault. "We rely on professionals to do that for us. Geosoft's ability to provide a menu system based on our needs helps us present a product that's consistent across the company."