Geophysical detection of mineral conductors in tropical terrains with target conductors partly embedded in the conductive overburden
Ground geophysical methods were used in the greenstone belt of Western Kenya as follow-up of an Input airborne electromagnetic survey. Observation and drilling results showed that the graphite and pyrite bodies, which constitute the main target conductors in the area, either outcrop or reach near to the ground surface. The drilling results further showed that the weathered layer is between 20 m and 60 m thick. Therefore the target conductors are partly embedded in this fairly conductive weathered layer and may be in galvanic contact with it. The geophysical methods were able to delineate the conductors. However, by virtue of the galvanic contact between the conductors and the conductive overburden, the profiles from the horizontal loop EM measurements are highly enhanced. This effect makes interpretation of the profiles possible at low frequencies but difficult at high frequencies. The interpreted EM results show that the target conductors appear shallow and less conductive at higher frequencies. Thus one must choose geophysical instruments and operating frequencies carefully to ensure good results in tropical terrains.