Risk reduction is the primary value Magmachem brings to the exploration and economic evaluation of mineral properties. This is accomplished through the application of MagmaChem technologies which include economic appraisal of resources, strato-tectonic analysis and targeting by geochemiccal vectoring and kinematic analysis.
MagmaChem is a research and exploration consulting company built around the MagmaChem Classification of Igneous Rocks and Mineral Deposits. The relationship between igneous rocks and mineral deposits, on which the classification is based, was first recognized by Stan Keith in 1976 during field mapping in Arizona. Plate tectonic implications of the relationship was published in a 1978 paper in Geology Magazine. In 1983 Stan Keith and Monte Swan co-founded MagmaChem as a vehicle to further develop and apply the classification to mineral exploration. This work was funded at the $100 million level and resulted in the discovery of 21 metal deposits and 1 geothermal system on 3 continents totaling more than $65 billion worth of copper, gold, and silver from 1988 to the present. The ratio of funds invested to the value of economic resources discovered is 1:2000. The entire spectrum of metals as well as hydrocarbons is included in the MagmaChem classification. As economic interest shifts to elements such as lithium or gallium for example, or to gold or copper, or even trona or hydrocarbons, the classification provides turn-key acquisition and exploration technology that has been proven to dramatically lower risk, cost, and evaluation time.
MagmaChem is based on a tiered, logical classification framework that empirically describes the geologic process of fractional differentiation of chemical mass by relating the composition of igneous rocks to the composition of mineral deposits. The classification groups igneous rocks into magma-metal series families that integrate to a global geotectonic, layered earth model. This provides a structural and chemical layered-earth reference frame for geologic systems. Kinematic and dynamic mechanical analysis of structures can be related to fluid flow through mapping of elemental dispersal patterns in hydrothermal plumes and used as an exploration tool in the search for metal and petroleum resources. The classification has been used to appraise the resource endowment of regions and countries and to establish a natural baseline and recognize anomalous geochemical environmental patterns.
Development of the MagmaChem technologies has been funded primarily by the private sector (e.g., the mineral and oil and gas industries) with secondary funding from the public sector (e.g., United State Geological Survey). More that $110 million has been contributed between 1983 and 2010. This has led to the discovery of $65 billion worth of metal on three continents. More than 160 published and 200 unpublished works have been written.
Beginning in 1985, the Magma-Metal Series classification was applied to oil and gas research and exploration, initially focusing on strato-tectonic analysis and dynamic basin modeling. But it wasn’t until 2001, after presenting a paper at AAPG in Denver, that MagmaChem co-founders Stan and Monte began to look seriously at the origin of hydrocarbons. This was when geologists from several major companies said that when they modeled super-giant oil and gas accumulations–when they do the accounting–the “books don’t balance.” Their geodynamic calculations indicated they were missing an important parameter and they suspected that something was going on beneath the basins that contributed heat, fluid, metals, hydrogen, diamondoids and particularly magnesiam. Subsequently, MagmaChem recognized the importance of serpentinization of peridotites beneath basins, which they believe is the missing parameter that “balances the books.” Fluids released during serpentinization contain all the elements and compounds and heat needed to “balance the books”, plus potentially occurs beneath any oil accumulation on earth. Serpentinization is a first-order earth process. The volume of serpentinites to the volume of sedimentary rock on earth is 10 to 1.
Geochemical vectoring of hydrocarbon accumulations identifies patterns in trace-element geochemistry of soils and in drill core and cuttings above and lateral to hydrocarbon accumulations, including CBM, reflecting both the hydrocarbon and the brine component of the fluid. To delineate these patterns, geochemical vectoring uses a highly-optimized procedure of sample collection and processing and factor analysis. Surface soil samples are carefully collected for consistency, sieved at the lab to separate the clay fraction (
Geochemical vectoring integrates with a number of other geologic disciplines and exploration tools. Although it integrates well with conventional exploration tools in conventional settings, it is especially useful when applied to unconventional shale, CBM, fracture, HTD, and possibly off-shore plays and in situations where seismic does not work well.
During its initial application to oil and gas exploration geochemical vectoring identified both hydrocarbon accumulations and uneconomic “dry” prospects. It has been successfully applied to four on-shore oil and gas fields and four on-shore oil and gas exploration plays and was also instrumental in the development and step-out discovery of an economic geothermal system. Data for these case histories has been acquired and preliminary synthesis has revealed geo-chemical vectoring patterns reminiscent of mineral system patterns that led to multiple economic metal discoveries. Analysis of these case histories suggests that geochemical vectoring is a tool that will significantly enhance petroleum exploration. All predictions made by the geochemical vectoring technique were correct, i.e., a positive geochemical signal for hydrocarbons was identified for the wells encountering oil or gas, whereas no geochemical hydrocarbon signal was observed for the dry prospects. Two oil prospects have yet to be drilled, save for two pre-geochemical vectoring holes in each, all of which had shows on the flanks of the prospect’s geochemical vectored anomalies. Drill targeting based solely on the geochemistry would have discovered all of the oil and gas fields in the case histories, but is ideally used in conjunction with other exploration tools to maximize risk reduction.