Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The Geophysicist's Guide to Striking It Rich

TAU researchers develop integrated method for oil and gas survey

Prospecting — the search for valuable reserves such as gold, diamond and natural gas — isn't just a matter of luck. It's about knowing where to look. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University have modernized the hit-or-miss search with cutting-edge technology that scans the earth for signs of lucrative resources that could lurk beneath our feet.

Combining a number of surveying techniques for the first time, Prof. Lev Eppelbaum of TAU's Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences at the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences and Dr. Youri Katz of TAU's Department of Zoology at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences have carried out a more accurate and in-depth land survey of Israel and the surrounding Mediterranean area than ever before. Their findings pinpoint the most likely places to find reservoirs of natural gas and oil.

Fifteen years in the making, their technique, which recently appeared in the journal Positioning, can be applied to any region in the world to more accurately identify possible riches below — before the costs of drilling or mining are incurred.

From buyers to producers

To create detailed structural-tectonic maps of Israel and the surrounding areas, Prof. Eppelbaum and Dr. Katz carried out an integrated survey using a variety of geophysical tools, including advanced analysis of magnetic, gravity, and temperature fields; utilization of seismic, magnetotelluric, and satellite imaging; and numerous well sections and outcropping studies. All of these results were integrated with plate tectonics reconstructions.

Perhaps the most valuable results of their study, the researchers say, are a series of prospective maps which identify specific areas where geological-geophysical teams are most likely to be successful in the search for natural gas and oil. Such information is not only of critical economic importance to Israel, but will also diversify oil and gas options for consumers worldwide.

Just off the shore of Haifa, a northern city along Israel's coastline, there is believed to be a five hundred billion cubic meter area of gas reserve, Prof. Eppelbaum says. The survey indicates that a few tens of kilometers away, there may be another reserve that would significantly increase the current estimated amount of gas, he notes.

His predictions for additional oil reserves in deep water zones increase the estimated total of gas reserves by 200-300%. "Israel could have a future as a gas country — one that can produce oil and gas and sell it to the rest of the world," Prof. Eppelbaum predicts.

A well-rounded approach

Prof. Eppelbaum says that the research was inspired by Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham of the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, who was the first to apply the theory of plate tectonics to Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean. His findings provide a deeper understanding of the geophysical conditions in the region.

Warning that many researchers specialize too narrowly in a specific field or method, Prof. Eppelbaum stresses that the interdisciplinary approach of the Tel Aviv University team had a direct impact on the success of the study. An integrated approach puts critical information firmly in the grasp of today’s scientists — and those "prospecting" for a brighter tomorrow.

George Hunka | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>