New Device Provides Real-Time Measurement of Soil Gas Concentrations to Help Identify Mineral Deposits

Vancouver, BC – June 4, 2020 – An innovative technique to rapidly test gas concentrations in soil may help to identify new mineral exploration opportunities in British Columbia.

A new report published by Geoscience BC details testing of a portable device designed to identify anomalous soil gas concentrations that could indicate geological faults and mineralization buried below glacial deposits in BC’s North Central and South Central Regions. The device consists of inexpensive carbon dioxide and oxygen sensors combined with a simple soil gas sampling mechanism.

“In the past, this exploration method has been successful, but the equipment is relatively expensive and the surveys can be slow,” said Palmer project lead, Dave Sacco. “This project has tested a small, field-portable, battery-powered system that delivers results in around 20 minutes on the spot.”

In summer 2019, a BC-based geoscience research team tested the technique at Mouse Mountain near Quesnel, and Shiko Lake near Horsefly, where faults and copper-gold showings are known to occur.

The soil gas measurement kit consists of carbon dioxide and oxygen gas detectors, a 1.5-metre-long sampling probe, a battery-operated pump and a computer. The hollow sampling probe is driven 30-40 centimetres into the ground and the gas is pumped from the soil to the detectors for measurement.

The researchers completed five transects across the inferred structures and compared soil gas and soil samples at each site. The change in concentration of carbon dioxide and oxygen detected in the soil at the test sites was spatially coincident with inferred structures or mineralization beneath glacial deposits.

Geoscience BC Vice President, Minerals Christa Pellett said: “Minerals research projects like this encourage the development and use of innovative mineral exploration. This field-portable, quick and inexpensive soil gas testing technique has the potential to be a new tool in BC’s mineral exploration toolkit.”

Accessing Information

View the project page 2018-028 or Geoscience BC Earth Science Viewer for more information.

View project page          View project in Earth Science Viewer

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