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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...

On the Trail of UXOs

by Dan Zlotnikov on June 24, 2013 Applied

A typical countryside village in Attapeu Province.

When the Aqua Survey team headed into the mountains of southern Laos, it knew the challenges that lay ahead. The company’s task: to pit its technical expertise and specialized detection equipment against what is commonly described as the most difficult UXO clearance area in the world.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail, a network of roads linking North and South Vietnam, stretches some 3,000 km across Laos and Cambodia. American forces seeking to cut off North Vietnamese supply lines during the Vietnam War bombed the trail heavily, dropping more than 3 million tons of ordnance on Laos alone, with many failing to detonate. Hidden under dense foliage and buried underground, these UXOs continue to maim and kill Lao civilians today.

UXOs also pose an economic hazard: larger bombs can remain dormant for years until a heavy vehicle such as a bulldozer rolls over one. This ongoing threat means infrastructure projects such as roads and schools require costly bomb-clearing operations.

Aqua Survey team members Ken Hayes, Sean Scrivens and Joel Blake discuss the very metallic geology in the area being surveyed for UXO.

The first task of Aqua Survey, a Kingwood, New Jersey-based environmental survey company, was to survey a 1-mile stretch of dirt road. That might sound like an easy job to a lay person, but the region’s unique challenges have foiled any number of previous attempts to clear it of old bombs. The challenge lies in the country’s very soil, which is rich in aluminum and other metals,

“The soils were so conductive that a 250-lb. bomb would disappear in the background EM response at 1.2 metres,” says Aqua Survey President Ken Hayes. “This compares with a detection range of 4 metres in the air.”

The Aqua Survey team used an EM63 time-domain electromagnetic detector to record multiple-time gates which showed subtle changes in background conductivity. The readings were then processed through a proprietary utility, and the output was seamlessly imported into Geosoft UX-Detect for gridding, mapping and spatial refinement of target locations.

The scale of the country’s UXO problem quickly became apparent: in the single mile of road Aqua Survey examined, scans located more than 700 dense metallic targets.

Hayes points to yet another challenge the team faced: many of the detected objects were not bombs but rather pieces of metallic debris strewn along the road. The next step was to identify the signatures most likely to be UXOs.

“Using a combination of techniques, we generated a prioritized target list that isolated larger and higher conductance targets more likely to be munitions of concern,” Hayes says.

[Click to enlarge]

A UXO target along the road to the animist village in the mountains of Attapeu Province.

The final result, a list of 29 items most likely to be large, buried, bombs, was handed off to specialist teams tasked with UXO disposal.

The team’s second project was at the Sepong gold-copper mine, also in southern Laos, where large bombs are found on a regular basis. Sepong posed a special sort of challenge in that the mine boasts some of the most conductive soil in the world. Strict safety procedures mean the mine has never had a bomb-related injury, though it paid the price in excavation time. Speeding up UXO identification would mean massive cost savings – a vital concern in a country where mining accounts for more than 10% of the economy. Here, too, Aqua Survey’s expertise lived up to the challenge. Reconfiguring the equipment and adapting the software allowed the team to distinguish between responses from the ground and the bombs.

In a land where the ground itself holds both great promise and mortal danger, the dormant threat may have finally met its match.

Aqua Survey has posted a series of videos on its Laos UXO project. Watch the videos »

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