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Improved structural interpretation of legacy 3D seismic data from Karee platinum mine (South Africa) through the application of novel seismic attributesNormal access

Authors: M.S.D. Manzi, G.R.J. Cooper, A. Malehmir and R.J. Durrheim
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 68, No 1, January 2020 pp. 145 - 163
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12900
Organisations: Wiley
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.48Mb )

Seismic detection of faults, dykes, potholes and iron-rich ultramafic pegmatitic bodies is of great importance to the platinum mining industry, as these structures affect safety and efficiency. The application of conventional seismic attributes (such as instantaneous amplitude, phase and frequency) in the hard-rock environment is more challenging than in soft-rock settings because the geology is often complex, reflections disrupted and the seismic energy strongly scattered. We have developed new seismic attributes that sharpen seismic reflections, enabling additional structural information to be extracted from hard-rock seismic data. The symmetry attribute is based on the invariance of an object with respect to transformations such as rotation and reflection; it is independent of the trace reflection amplitude, and hence a better indicator of the lateral continuity of thin and weak reflections. The reflection-continuity detector attribute is based on the Hilbert transform; it enhances the visibility of the peaks and troughs of the seismic traces, and hence the continuity of weak reflections. We demonstrate the effectiveness of these new seismic attributes by applying them to a legacy 3D seismic data set from the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. These seismic attributes show good detection of deep-seated thin (1.5 m thick) platinum ore bodies and their associated complex geological structures (faults, dykes, potholes and iron-rich ultramafic pegmatites). They provide a fast, cost-effective and efficient interpretation tool that, when coupled with horizon-based seismic attributes, can reveal structures not seen in conventional interpretations.

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