EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Deep Electrical Resistivity Tomography as a mineral exploration tool: the Calamita distal Fe-skarn, Elba Island (Italy)

Damian Braize1, Julien Sfalcin1, Matteo Lupi1, Kalin Kouzmanov1, Andrea Dini2, and Gianfranco Morelli3
Damian Braize et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland (
  • 2Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, CNR, Pisa, Italy
  • 3Geostudi Astier S.r.l., Livorno, Italy

To face the growing demand for raw materials, the discovery of new mineral deposits is essential for the future. Geophysical methods, and in particular electrical and electromagnetic tools, have an important role in mineral exploration. Recently, new technological developments made possible targetting deeper ore bodies and large areas with logistical challenges. We use the Deep Electrical Resistivity Tomography (DERT) method to investigate its application in mineral exploration. In particular, we use the Fullwaver technology developed by IRIS Instruments to study the full 3D resistive structure of the Calamita distal Fe-skarn deposit, Elba Island, Italy. This innovative hardware allows a full 3D deployment of autonomous and cable-less receivers and contrasts with traditional resistivity methods by its easy set-up and applicability in difficult contexts.

In November 2022, a 3D DERT survey has been carried out to investigate the Calamita deposit, consisting of massive magnetite-hematite ore bodies hosted in marbles overlaying micaschists of Tuscan Units. Skarn mineralogy/geochemistry and fluid inclusion characteristics suggest a magmatic source for the mineralizing fluids. 148 current injections have been performed on 48 receivers over an area of 2km² with the aim to reach exploration depths ranging from 600 m to 700 m. Geophysical data were combined with a high-resolution 3D Digital Elevation Model acquired by standard and thermal drone imagery.

The 3D inverted resistivity and induced polarization models match with the surface geology and shallow exploration drill hole data and highlight the architecture of Calamita deposit. Strong resistivity contrasts reveal the presence of sub-vertical conductive and chargeable pipes connecting the different skarn bodies at depth, interpreted to represent the paleo-hydrothermal upflow zones. The pipes point towards the inferred cupola of a magmatic intrusion that potentially triggered the formation of the ore deposit. High chargeability anomalies suggest the presence of hidden massive ore bodies and disseminated mineralisation on the flanks of the system.

DERT has the potential to investigate and explore mineral deposits in full 3D, with high sensitivity, and in logistically complex settings.

How to cite: Braize, D., Sfalcin, J., Lupi, M., Kouzmanov, K., Dini, A., and Morelli, G.: Deep Electrical Resistivity Tomography as a mineral exploration tool: the Calamita distal Fe-skarn, Elba Island (Italy), EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-16567,, 2023.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary material file