Abstract: Advances in the Realm of Hydrogeophysics: The Emerging Role of Quantum Geoelectrophysics in Aquifer Exploration

As a preview to our October 2018 RECORDER, we present this abstract.

Water is integral to our economy, the health of our environment, and a necessity for all life forms and human development. Most water is accessed from surface sources, primarily rivers, which are now under increased threat due to over use and growing hydro-political forces. Still, groundwater exists as a viable option in many countries facing these mounting challenges. Knowledge of our deeper groundwater systems, although increasing, is still quite limited due to our propensity to focus efforts in the lower cost, lower risk, near-surface environment. Accessibility to shallow groundwater is tightening due to increasing use, changing regulatory requirements, and climate change.

The use of classical geophysics to explore for groundwater resources, such as seismic, gravity, magnetics, and resistivity, has been the industry standard for many decades. Classical technologies have proven quite effective in both the shallow and medium depth environments. However, newer space-based, and earth-based sensing technologies are now emerging that are more efficient, effective, and economical relative to classical technologies for groundwater exploration and development programs, while causing  little to no environmental impact.

Quantum Direct Matter Indicator (QDMI) technologies, or applied methods of Quantum Geoelectrophysics (QGEP), are poised to enhance the hydrogeophysical industry, much like electromagnetic (EM) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) did decades ago. QDMI utilizes resonant frequency remote (via satellite) and earth-based direct sensing technologies that detect perturbations in the earth’s natural electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields. Controlled source electromagnetic pulse methods with electromagnetic spectrum spectroscopy analysis are used to identify aquifers, including their thickness, quality of water (fresh or saline) and temperature characteristics accurately to depths of 1000 m or more.

With multiple successes around the world, the deployment of this inventive, innovative, and effective approach to groundwater exploration is poised to advance exploration geophysics globally. This article provides a background on this emerging technology and presents a recent case study in Mexico where the technique was successful in deciphering a complex aquifer system being accessed for industrial water supply.

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Richard Hatala, B.Sc., P.Eng, PMP is the Founder, Director, President and CEO of Integrative Technologies International (ITI) Inc., a Natural Resource Evaluation company based in Calgary AB. Founded nearly 20 years ago, ITI brings an integrative approach to exploration and development of natural resources (i.e. hydrocarbons, minerals and metals, water and geothermal) through its Integrative Exploration Model (IEM) Methodologies, unique Quantum Direct Matter Indicator (QDMI) Technologies, and Project Implementation Strategies. Over 600 projects in more than 60 countries have been successfully conducted to date. 

Jon Fennell, M.Sc., Ph.D., P.Geol. is a Principal Hydrogeologist and vice President of Advisory Services for Water Security and Climate Resiliency at Integrated Sustainability, a Calgary-based water, waste and energy management company. He has over 30 years consulting experience in the natural resource sector supporting industry, government, and the public sector (locally and internationally) to advance knowledge and understanding of hydrologic systems. Much of his work has focused on achieving sustainable management of groundwater and surface water through development of integrated monitoring and management systems and related policies. His areas of specialization include physical and chemical hydrogeology, groundwater-surface water interaction assessments, environmental forensics (including remote sensing, geophysics, and isotope fingerprinting), risk assessment and climate change analysis/adaptation. 

Gerald (Gerry) Gurba, B.Sc., P.Geol., is a professional petroleum geologist with over 40 years working in the energy industry in both Canada and abroad (Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Bolivia and Syria). He worked 22 years with Gulf Canada Resources and 12 years with Petro-Canada / Suncor, and over six years as a consultant / employee for small company start-ups and Joint Ventures. Gerry is a member of APEGA, CSPG and EAGE and has been directly involved with the drilling of over 3500 wells in his career from rank frontier wildcats to infill SAGD bitumen core wells. He has extensive technical, as well as business and supervisory experience in production, exploitation, exploration and operational activities, as well as reservoir management and technical enhancements for optimizing hydrocarbon production. Gerry has been working with Integrated Technologies International for the last five years. 

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