Columbia River Basalt Plateau – An integrated approach to interpretation of basalt covered areas.


The Columbia River Basalt Plateau is an area covered by basalt flows of Miocene age ranging in thickness from a few thousand feet to as much as 18,000 feet. Beneath these surface flows lie unknown thicknesses of sedimentary section and subsurface structures. Seismic exploration techniques are hampered due to the difficulty of seismic energy penetrating the basalt cover. To date, all the exploration wells have been located on topographical structures. All wells have been commercially unsuccessful and give minimal control for an area covering approximately 36,000 square miles. A multi-science interpretation based on aeromagnetic, magnetotelluric, gravity and well data is presented of a 219 km data profile which traverses the eastern Columbia River Plateau in Washington state. The objective of this case study is to illustrate the individual contributions derived from these three geophysical data sets to a final integrated interpretation.


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