THE MEERS MICROSEEP METHOD
POTASSIUM, BISMUTH, AND MAGNETIC SUSCEPTIBILITY
The Meers Microseep Surveys method of geochemical hydrocarbon microseep detection uses the regional concentrations of magnetic iron, radioactive Potassium (40K) and Bismuth (214Bi). These three elements react differently in the "Reducing and Oxidizing Environments" caused from hydrocarbon microseepage. Within the "Reducing Environment", 40K will decrease its concentration, while magnetic iron and 214Bi will increase their concentration. Bordering the Reduced area, the three elements will reverse their concentrations with 40K being higher than the magnetic iron and 214Bi. This is termed a "Oxidized" area. These two environments can be seen in "Figure 1".
In addition to the above-described elements, Iodine, and Butane consuming Micro Bacteria dramatically increase their concentrations on a hydrocarbon microseep.
Figure 1 depicts an "Apical" type microseep pattern. This type pattern is represented by a strong reducing microseep area above the reservoir with a bordering Oxidized area. The Oxidized area represents the outside edge of the reservoir.
The Meers Microseep Detection method is measuring radioactive Potassium (40K), Bismuth (214Bi), and Magnetic Iron. In the Oxidized area, the soil is rich in Gypsum and Polyhalite. The Polyhalite has a very high concentration of Potassium that is seen by the Potassium measuring device. Bismuth becomes very soluble in water in an oxidizing environment and is therefore dissolved and moved away by groundwater; however, it precipitates in the Reducing area, so the microseep area has a high Bismuth content. The Reducing microseep area has high magnetite content because the hydrocarbons are more readily oxidized. This causes the normal soil oxidation to be dramatically reduced or even stopped; therefore, the magnetite oxidation to hematite is reduced. The Oxidized soil has a low concentration of magnetic Iron since the oxidizing salts have destroyed the magnetic properties of the iron minerals. The oxidizing area also has a below normal concentration of Iodine and butane consuming Micro Bacteria due to the hostile ph of the salty soil.
The microbial method of hydrocarbon microseep detection uses Butane consuming micro bacteria to identify microseeps. Soil samples are collected and then cultured by Dr. Pete Renick at his Buffalo Gap Laboratory in an alcohol of Butane. Most other micro bacteria don't survive this Butinol medium leaving the culture dish relatively free of non-significant bacteria. After a week of culturing in this medium, the cultures are counted. A histogram is made of the culture counts to establish background and anomalous samples. Background is established using the first peak of the histogram data. A first order microseep or weak microseep is the first doubling of background. The second order microseep is a tripling of background while a 3rd order microseep is quadrupling of background. Forth order microseeps are the remaining higher samples. A map is then constructed using the anomalous cultures to identify areas of microseepage.
The Iodine method uses Iodine concentration to identify hydrocarbon microseeps. The samples are collected and sent to Chuck Gouge at Graystone Laboratory Inc. in Golden Colorado. Mr. Gouge triturates the soil sample to find the iodine concentration. The Iodine atom does not easily bond with other atoms in the top few inches of the soil column. The only exception to this is heavy hydrocarbon molecules. Iodine forms a stable bond with hydrocarbon molecules of 3 or more carbon atoms; therefore, a high concentration of Iodine in the soil is indicative of heavy hydrocarbons in the soil.
Individual tools used in geochemical prospecting have a certain degree of "Noise". The noise is meaningless anomalous data in non-microseep areas, or even non-anomalous data in a microseep area. This "Noise" has been a major cause of concern to the explorationist and has caused many errors in the interpretation of geochemical data. Meers Microseep Surveys use a time-tested method for geochemical noise reduction with an above average success ratio. It has been demonstrated that exploration success rates dramatically increase using geochemical stacking verses individual tool results.
The seismic industry negated noise by increasing the fold of a seismic line. Repeated stacking of various seismic source impulses into various receivers does this. Meers Microseep Surveys use this same technique to reduce geochemical noise. The stacking of the five above-mentioned tools (Caliche, K-Mag, K-Bismuth, Iodine, and Microbes) yields a stacked geochemical profile. Each geochemical tool adds 20% to the stacked profile with the last element representing a 100% stack