The natural landscape includes mountains, valleys, rivers, and large bodies of water. The landscape changes over time due to a variety of natural events, including erosion, land movement, and the movement of glaciers.
A combination of 2D and 3D maps can help to give scientists and geologists a good idea of where to find important minerals, oil deposits, and even water sources. Junior Geophysicist John Wilton Kelley shares that some even use 4D maps, which include time as the fourth dimension, to help predict potential land movements and changes over time.
What Makes Geophysical Data Important
Whether looking at the Earth’s surface or searching for something just beneath it, geophysical data is what reveals the geological history and natural resources. John Wilton Kelley says geophysical data is essential for locating ideal construction locations and finding important natural resources, including:
- Oil and petroleum
- Other natural resources
Minerals cover a variety of natural resources, like gold, copper, and lithium. Oil and petroleum are especially important to find for manufacturing processes as well as fuel for transportation.
Oil and gas are hydrocarbons, but so are natural gas, coal, propane, and much more. Most electricity is produced using hydrocarbons, including coal and natural gas, that fuel power-generation plants and are the backbone of the nation’s electrical grid system.
Aggregate and other natural resources are important for construction, roadbuilding, and other important developments that help nations to grow and remain prosperous. Geophysical data is what points to the most viable areas for mining, construction, and other important operations.
How Geophysical Data Is Collected
Geophysicists use a variety of tools to obtain geophysical data and convert it into useful information. That information could be used in topographical maps, obtaining core samples, and producing sketches of what most likely lay beneath the Earth’s surface.
According to John Wilton Kelley, instruments that sense mineral deposits and other geophysical properties help to provide data that better identify where important natural resources are located.
Items like a gravimeter or a gravitational wave sensor can detect changes in the Earth’s gravitational field. A magnetometer can tell when there are changes in the magnetic field.
Such data is especially useful for locating important minerals that could help to produce batteries for electric vehicles. It also can help to fuel industrial innovations that make the world a cleaner and better place.