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Making the link between geological and geophysical uncertainty: geodiversity in the Ashanti Greenstone Belt

Abstract : The process of 3-D modelling forces the operator to consider data collection and processing error, while simultaneously making assumptions about geology during interpretation, to arrive at the most likely or logical geological scenario. These kinds of ambiguities lead to situations where multiple model realizations can be produced from a single input data set. Decisions are typically made during the modelling process with the aim of reducing the number of possible models, preferably to produce a single geological realization. These types of decisions involve how input data are processed and what data are included, and are always made without complete knowledge of the system under study. This regularly, if not always, results in natural geometries being misrepresented by the model, which can be attributed to uncertainty inherent in the modelling process. Uncertainty is unavoidable in geological modelling as complete knowledge of the natural system is impossible, though we use many techniques to reduce the amount introduced during the modelling process. A common technique used to reduce uncertainty is geophysical forward modelling, and the misfit between the calculated and observed response provides a means to gauge whether changes in model architecture improve or degrade the quality of the model. Unfortunately, geophysical data are ambiguous and provide a non-unique solution, with different model geometries able to produce the same geophysical response.

We propose a process whereby multiple models, collectively known as the `model suite', are produced from a single data set that allows an exploration of geological model space. Various `geodiversity' metrics have been developed to characterize geometrical and geophysical aspects of each model. Geodiversity measurements are combined into multivariate analysis to reveal relationships between metrics and define the boundaries of the geological possibility. A previous study using geodiversity metrics on the Gippsland Basin is extended here by including geophysical metrics. We use the Ashanti Greenstone Belt, southwestern Ghana in West Africa, as a case study to assess the usefulness of the technique. A critical assessment of the 3-D model is performed and aspects of the model space are identified that could be of interest to gold explorers.

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Submitted on : Saturday, March 26, 2022 - 9:08:52 AM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:11:11 AM
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Mark D. Lindsay, Stéphane Perrouty, Mark W. Jessell, Laurent Aillères. Making the link between geological and geophysical uncertainty: geodiversity in the Ashanti Greenstone Belt. Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2013, 195, pp.903-922. ⟨10.1093/gji/ggt311⟩. ⟨insu-03620487⟩



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