Electronic gas sensors help detect anomalous mineral deposits — report

Dave Sacco testing the portable device. (Image courtesy of Geoscience BC).

Geoscience BC published a report detailing its current testing of a portable device designed to identify anomalous soil gas concentrations that could indicate geological faults and mineralization buried below glacial deposits in British Columbia’s North Central and South Central regions.

According to the report, the device consists of inexpensive carbon dioxide and oxygen gas detectors, a 1.5-meter-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.

In the past, this exploration method has been successful but the equipment used to be relatively expensive and very slow

“This project has tested a small, field-portable, battery-powered system that delivers results in around 20 minutes on the spot,” project lead Dave Sacco said in a media statement.

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

They 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.