Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract A novel variation of the geophysical technique known as MOSES, for Magnetometric Off-Shore Electrical Sounding, has been developed to map the electrical properties of the sea floor in Aretic regions. The particular target is the permafrost layer under the Beaufort Sea, a layer containing frozen or partially frozen sediment from 100 to 600 m thick underlying shallow sea water, typically 10 to 100 m deep, and several tens of metres of soft sediment. A detailed knowledge of the location and physical properties of the permafrost layer is essential for accurate interpretation of reflection seismic data. The permafrost can contain pockets, regions or layers of gas hydrate. The latter is both a possible resource and a hazard to drilling operations or hydrocarbon production. A local map of the permafrost zone is essential geotechnical information required prior to the construction of an offshore structure or pipeline. The MOSES method is particularly suitable for offshore electrical mapping as it can be made relatively insensitive to the shielding effects of the highly conductive sea water, in sharp contrast to many other electrical techniques. The transmitter is a vertical, long-wire bipole, extending from the sea surface to the sea floor. A commutated current is fed to two large electrodes: one near the sea surface and the other on the sea floor. The return current is through the sea water and the subjacent sediment. The receiver consists of two horizontal orthogonal coils located on the sea floor, and the data are measurements of two components of the magnetic field as a function of frequency and transmitter-receiver horizontal separation. The electrical conductivity of a sample of frozen material is much smaller than that of unfrozen or partially frozen sediment of the same type. Frozen and unfrozen thin layers are often observed sequentially throughout the geological section. The resistivity measured as a function of depth by an electrical logging tool is consequently highly variable. The resulting depth-averaged resistivity, the resistivity resolved by a surface electrical method, is macro-an-isotropic. An experimental design study reveals that both the vertical and horizontal averaged resistivities could be determined in a MOSES sounding without vertical scale distortion. A test of the methodology in very shallow water was conducted in the spring of 1986 at a site, approximate coordinates (70° N, 134.5° W), 85 km north-west of the town of Tuktoyaktuk. The instrumentation was lowered and subsequently recovered through holes in the ice which covers the Beaufort Sea at that time of the year. The transmitter power was obtained from a single lead-acid battery. Transmitter-receiver separations ranged from 10 to 300 m. A rapid increase in sediment resistivity with depth was observed. The higher resistivity values are consistent with those expected for a partially frozen zone.
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