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Gravity Gradiometry for Mineral Exploration – Why Density Matters

Several mining companies in Africa are adding Full Tensor Gravity Gradiometry data to their exploration programmes. This video is for the exploration managers, geoscientists and investors who would like to understand why.

The team at Bell Geospace, together with accomplished exploration manager Tim Wright have put together a video to provide information on the role density plays in understanding the subsurface and locating geology which could host mineralisation. Tim Wright uses rock samples to show how the varying density properties of minerals is particularly useful for “seeing” beneath large expanses of covered rocks and how surveying reveals surprising details of hidden worlds potential resource deposits.


Full Tensor Gravity Gradiometry surveys enable efficient targeting of exploratory activities. Minimising surface and community disturbance and accelerating projects. One of the beauties of an airborne survey is the striking resolution of data which can be provided over an area of interest found midflight. The plane can re-fly the interesting area during the same project using a much tighter fly line grid.

This provides a very detailed image of the subsurface, at a similar resolution to ground gravity. Acquisition by airplane ensures that the data coverage is very consistent. Ground gravity data can be irregular because the ground gravimeter cannot be placed in restricted zones. A complete coverage of data makes for simpler integration with the other data and tools available.

The video concludes by touching upon the passive nature of airborne. Airborne (both gravity and magnetic) is one of the least disruptive forms of exploration available. It is also much less expensive than other methods, especially drilling. Airborne has a very important role in limiting the cost and impact of exploration as we, as a world population strive to meet our increasing demand on resources.