Airborne Oil Sands Exploration

Motivation for airborne oil sands exploration

  • Relatively shallow geology (~500 m) 
  • Pattern drilling is extremely expensive
  • Land seismic is also expensive
  • Airborne electromagnetic (AEM) methods are ideal:
    • Sensitive to resistivity contrasts of the main geological formations and hazards
    • Minimal environmental invasion
    • Large areas can be acquired rapidly for low cost (relative to seismic or drilling)

AeroTEM survey was carried out in the Fort McMurray region of Alberta, Canada

3D inversion/imaging of AEM data: Glass Earth® (resistivity) model

Vertical cross sections of Glass Earth® model

Perspective view of  Glass Earth® subsurface model