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AuthorsSapia, V.* 
Oldenborger, G. A.* 
Viezzoli, A.* 
TitleIncorporating a-priori information into AEM inversion for geological and hydrogeological mapping of the Spiritwood Valley Aquifer, Manitoba, Canada
Issue DateNov-2012
Series/Report no.2012
KeywordsAirborne electromagnetics, Time domain electromagnetics, Hydrogeophysics, Data integration
Subject Classification05. General::05.01. Computational geophysics::05.01.99. General or miscellaneous 
05. General::05.01. Computational geophysics::05.01.01. Data processing 
05. General::05.01. Computational geophysics::05.01.03. Inverse methods 
05. General::05.01. Computational geophysics::05.01.04. Statistical analysis 
AbstractBuried valleys are important hydrogeological structures in Canada and other glaciated terrains, providing sources of groundwater for drinking, agriculture and industrial applications. Hydrgeological exploration methods such as pumping tests, boreholes coring or ground-based geophysical methods (seismic and electrical resistivity tomography) provide limited spatial information and are inadequate to efficiently predict the sustainability of these aquifers at the regional scale. Airborne geophysics can be used to significantly improve geological and hydrogeological knowledge on a regional scale. There has been demonstrated success at using airborne electromagnetics for mapping and characterization of buried valleys in different geological contexts (Auken et al., 2008; Jørgensen et al., 2003; Jørgensen et al., 2009; Steuer et al., 2009). Despite the fact that both electromagnetic surveys and reflection seismic profiling are used extensively in hydrogeological mapping, integration of the methods is a relatively unexplored discipline (Høyer et al., 2011). The Spiritwood Valley is a Canada-USA trans-border buried valley aquifer that runs approximately NW – SE and extends 500 km from Manitoba, across North Dakota and into South Dakota (Winter et al., 1984). The Spiritwood aquifer system consists of glacially deposited silt and clay with sand and gravel bodies, infilling a broad north-south trending valley that has been identified primarily based on water wells information (Wiecek, 2009). The valley is incised into bedrock consisting of fractured siliceous shale. As part of its Groundwater Geoscience Program, the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) has been investigating buried valley aquifers in Canada using airborne and ground-based geophysical techniques. To obtain a regional three-dimensional assessment of complex aquifer geometries for the Spiritwood, both geophysical and geological investigations were performed with the aim to develop an integrated conceptual model for a quantitative description of the aquifer system. In 2010, the Geological Survey of Canada conducted an airborne electromagnetic (AeroTEM III) survey over a 1062 km2 area along the Spiritwood Valley, north of the US border (Oldenborger 2010a, 2010b). AEM inversion results show multiple resistive valley features inside a wider, more conductive valley structure within the conductive bedrock (Fig. 1). Furthermore, the complexity of the geometries, spatial distribution and size of the channels is evident. Other ground based data collected in the survey area make it possible to provide some constraints on the AEM resistivity model. Downhole resistivity logs were collected that provide information on the electrical model relative to the geological layers (Crow et al., 2012). In addition, over 10 line-km of electrical resistivity data and 42 km of high resolution landstreamer seismic reflection data (Figs. 2a, 2b) were collected at selected sites (Oldenborger et al., 2012). In this short paper we present results obtained from the data inversion and an example of integration of ancillary seismic data into the AEM inversion. In particular, the elevation to a layer (shale bedrock elevation) as interpreted from seismic is added to the inversion to constrain the resistivity model.
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