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We use sediment ages and mercury (Hg) concentrations to estimate past and future concentrations in the South River, Virginia, where Hg was released between 1930 and 1950 from a manufacturing process related to nylon production. In a previous study, along a 40 km (25 mi) reach, samples were collected from 26 of 54 fine-grained deposits that formed in the lee of large wood obstructions in the channel and analyzed for grain size, Hg concentration, and organic content. We also obtained radiometric dates from six deposits. To create a history that reflects the full concentration distribution (which contains concentrations as high as 900 mg/kg [900 ppm]), here, we treat the deposits as a single reservoir exchanging contaminated sediments with the overlying water column, and assume that the total sediment mass in storage and the distribution of sediment ages are time invariant. We use reservoir theory to reconstruct the annual history of Hg concentration on suspended sediment using data from our previous study and new results presented here. Many different reconstructed histories fit our data. To constrain results, we use information from a well-preserved core (and our estimate of the total mass of Hg stored in 2007) to specify the years associated with the peak concentration of 900 mg/kg. Our results indicate that around 850 kg (1874 lb) of Hg was stored in the deposits between 1955 and 1961, compared to only 80 kg (176 lb) today. Simulations of future Hg remediation suggest that 100-yr timescales will be needed for the South River to remove Hg-contaminated sediments from the channel perimeter through natural processes.
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 SONAR, historical and aerial photographs, and vibracoring were used to assess the type and thickness distribution of sediments impounded by Gold Ray Dam on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. From these data, a volume of about 400,000 cubic yards (

Equation EG13006eq1

) of sediment was determined for the inundated area of the reservoir.

Overall, sediment volumes in the impounded part of the reservoir were less than expected. There are three possibilities that may explain the perceived absence of sediment: (1) the gradient of the Rogue River in this stretch is less, and therefore sediment yields are less; (2) the extraction of gravels and/or other impediments upstream decreased the availability of sediments delivered into the reservoir; and/or (3) sediment was deposited by a prograding delta that filled in the inundated area of the floodplain upstream from Gold Ray Dam. The amount of sediment deposited on this inundated floodplain may have been as much as 1,800,000 cubic yards (Equation EG13006eq2), bringing the total amount of sediment impounded by Gold Ray Dam to Equation EG13006eq3 yards (Equation EG13006eq4).

Applied sedimentology is not only vital to developing a depositional model for the filling of a reservoir, but also providing insights into depositional and erosional changes that will occur upon the removal of a dam. In particular, the processes of delta formation, reoccupation of abandoned channels, and avulsion are paramount in determining sediment accumulation and distribution in reservoirs.

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Diagenesis significantly impacts mudstone lithofacies. Processes operating to control diagenetic pathways in mudstones are poorly known compared to analogous processes occurring in other sedimentary rocks. Selected organic-carbon-rich mudstones, from the Kimmeridge Clay and Monterey Formations, have been investigated to determine how varying starting compositions influence diagenesis.

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Umiat field in northern Alaska is a shallow, light-oil accumulation with an estimated original oil in place of more than 1.5 billion bbl and 99 bcf associated gas. The field, discovered in 1946, was never considered viable because it is shallow, in permafrost, and far from any infrastructure. Modern drilling and production techniques now make Umiat a more attractive target if the behavior of a rock, ice, and light oil system at low pressure can be understood and simulated.

The Umiat reservoir consists of shoreface and deltaic sandstones of the Cretaceous Nanushuk Formation deformed by a thrust-related anticline. Depositional environment imparts a strong vertical and horizontal permeability anisotropy to the reservoir that may be further complicated by diagenesis and open natural fractures.

Experimental and theoretical studies indicate that there is a significant reduction in the relative permeability of oil in the presence of ice, with a maximum reduction when connate water is fresh and less reduction when water is saline. A representative Umiat oil sample was reconstituted by comparing the composition of a severely weathered Umiat fluid to a theoretical Umiat fluid composition derived using the Pedersen method. This sample was then used to determine fluid properties at reservoir conditions such as bubble point pressure, viscosity, and density.

These geologic and engineering data were integrated into a simulation model that indicate recoveries of 12%–15% can be achieved over a 50-yr production period using cold gas injection from five well pads with a wagon-wheel configuration of multilateral wells.

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The presence of hydrocarbon-bearing sandstones within the Eocene of the Forties area was first documented in 1985, when a Forties field (Paleocene) development well discovered the Brimmond field. Further hydrocarbons in the Eocene were discovered in the adjacent Maule field in 2009. Reservoir geometry derived from three-dimensional seismic data has provided evidence for both a depositional and a sand injectite origin for the Eocene sandstones. The Brimmond field is located in a deep-water channel complex that extends to the southeast, whereas the Maule field sandstones have the geometry of an injection sheet on the updip margin of the Brimmond channel system with a cone-shape feature emanating from the top of the Forties Sandstone Member (Paleocene). The geometry of the Eocene sandstones in the Maule field indicates that they are intrusive and originated by the fluidization and injection of sand during burial. From seismic and borehole data, it is unclear whether the sand that was injected to form the Maule reservoir was derived from depositional Eocene sandstones or from the underlying Forties Sandstone Member. These two alternatives are tested by comparing the heavy mineral and garnet geochemical characteristics of the injectite sandstones in the Maule field with the depositional sandstones of the Brimmond field and the Forties sandstones of the Forties field.

The study revealed significant differences between the sandstones in the Forties field and those of the Maule and Brimmond fields), both in terms of heavy mineral and garnet geochemical data. The Brimmond-Maule and Forties sandstones therefore have different provenances and are genetically unrelated, indicating that the sandstones in the Maule field did not originate by the fluidization of Forties sandstones. By contrast, the provenance characteristics of the depositional Brimmond sandstones are closely comparable with sandstone intrusions in the Maule field. We conclude that the injectites in the Maule field formed by the fluidization of depositional Brimmond sandstones but do not exclude the important function of water from the huge underlying Forties Sandstone Member aquifer as the agent for developing the fluid supply and elevating pore pressure to fluidize and inject the Eocene sand. The study has demonstrated that heavy mineral provenance studies are an effective method of tracing the origin of injected sandstones, which are increasingly being recognized as an important hydrocarbon play.

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Interpretation of seismic data from the Sorvestsnaget Basin, southwest Barents Sea, demonstrates gradual middle Eocene basin infilling (from the north) generated by southward-prograding shelf-margin clinoforms. The basin experienced continued accommodation development during the middle Eocene because of differential subsidence caused by the onset of early Eocene sea-floor spreading in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea, faulting, salt movement, and different tectonic activity between the Sorvestsnaget Basin and Veslemoy high. During this time, the margin shows transformation from an initially high-relief margin to a progradation in the final stage. The early stage of progradation is characterized by the establishment of generally oblique clinoform shifts creating a flat shelf-edge trajectory that implies a gentle falling or stable relative sea level and low accommodation-to-sediment supply ratio (lt1) in the topsets. During the early stage of basin development, the high-relief margin, narrow shelf, stable or falling relative sea level, seismicity, and presumably high sedimentation rate caused accumulation of thick and areally extensive deep-water fans. Seismic-scale sandstone injections deform the fans.

A fully prograding margin developed when the shelf-to-basin profile lowered, apparently because of increased subsidence of the northern part. This stage of the basin development is generally characterized by the presence of sigmoid clinoform shifts creating an ascending shelf-edge trajectory that is implying steady or rising relative sea level with an accommodation-to-sediment supply ratio of greater than 1, implying sand accumulation on the shelf. This study suggests that some volume of sand was transported into the deep water during relative sea level rise considering the narrow shelf and inferred high rates of sediment supply.

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Organic-carbon–rich shales of the lower Marcellus Formation were deposited at the toe and basinward of a prograding clinothem associated with a Mahantango Formation delta complex centered near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Distribution of these organic-carbon–rich shales was influenced by shifts in the delta complex driven by changes in rates of accommodation creation and by a topographically high carbonate bank that formed along the Findlay-Algonquin arch during deposition of the Onondaga Formation. Specifically, we interpret the Union Springs member (Shamokin Member of the Marcellus Formation) and the Onondaga Formation as comprising a single third-order depositional sequence. The Onondaga Formation was deposited in the lowstand to transgressive systems tract, and the Union Springs member was deposited in the transgressive, highstand, and falling-stage systems tract. The regional extent of parasequences, systems tracts, and the interpreted depositional sequence suggest that base-level fluctuations were primarily caused by allogenic forcing—eustasy, climate, or regional thermal uplift or subsidence—instead of basement fault reactivation as argued by previous workers. Paleowater depths in the region of Marcellus Formation black mudrock accumulation were at least 330 ft (100 m) as estimated by differences in strata thickness between the northwestern carbonate bank and basinal facies to the southeast. Geochemical analysis indicates anoxic to euxinic bottom-water conditions. These conditions were supported by a deep, stratified basin with a lack of circulation.
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We use three-dimensional seismic reflection data and new map-based structural restoration methods to define the displacement history and characteristics of a series of tear faults in the deep-water Niger Delta. Deformation in the deep-water Niger Delta is focused mostly within two fold-and-thrust belts that accommodate downdip shortening produced by updip extension on the continental shelf. This shortening is accommodated by a series of thrust sheets that are locally cut by strike-slip faults. Through seismic mapping and interpretation, we resolve these strike-slip faults to be tear faults that share a common detachment level with the thrust faults. Acting in conjunction, these structures have accommodated a north –south gradient in westward-directed shortening. We apply a map-based restoration technique implemented in Gocad to restore an upper stratigraphic horizon of the late Oligocene and use this analysis to calculate slip profiles along the strike-slip faults. The slip magnitudes and directions change abruptly along the lengths of the tear faults as they interact with numerous thrust sheets. The discontinuous nature of these slip profiles reflects the manner in which they have accommodated differential movement between the footwall and hanging-wall blocks of the thrust sheets. In cases for which the relationship between a strike-slip fault and multiple thrust faults is unclear, the recognition of this type of slip profile may distinguish thin-skinned tear faults from more conventional deep-seated, throughgoing strike-slip faults.
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Offshore sequences of volcaniclastic rocks (such as hyaloclastite deposits) are poorly understood in terms of their rock properties and their response to compaction and burial. As petroleum exploration targets offshore volcanic rifted margins worldwide, understanding of volcanic rock properties becomes important both in terms of drilling and how the rocks may behave as seals, reservoirs, or permeability pathways. The Hawaiian Scientific Drilling Project phase II in 2001 obtained a 3 km-(2-mi)-long core of volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks that records the emergence of the largest of the Hawaiian islands. Core recovery of 2945 m (9662 ft) resulted in an unparalleled data set of volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks. Detailed logging, optical petrology, and major element analysis of two sections at depths 1831–1870 and 2530–2597 m (6007–6135 and 8300–8520 ft) are compared to recovered petrophysical logs (gamma ray, resistivity, and P-wave velocity). This study concludes deviation in petrophysical properties does not seem to correlate to changes in grain size or clast sorting, but instead correlates with alteration type (zeolite component) and bulk mineralogy (total olivine phenocryst percentage component). These data sets are important in helping to calibrate well-log responses through hyaloclastite intervals in areas of active petroleum exploration such as the North Atlantic (e.g., Faroe-Shetland Basin, United Kingdom, and Faroe Islands, the Norwegian margin and South Atlantic margins bordering Brazil and Angola).

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The petroleum trap for the Athabasca oil sands has remained elusive because it was destroyed by flexural loading of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin during the Late Cretaceous and Paleocene. The original trap extent is preserved because the oil was biodegraded to immobile bitumen as the trap was being charged during the Late Cretaceous. Using well and outcrop data, it is possible to reconstruct the Cretaceous overburden horizons beyond the limit of present-day erosion. Sequential restoration of the reconstructed horizons reveals a megatrap at the top of the Wabiskaw-McMurray reservoir in the Athabasca area at 84 Ma (late Santonian). The megatrap is a four-way anticline with dimensions 285 x 125 km (177 x 78 mi) and maximum amplitude of 60 m (197 ft). The southeastern margin of the anticline shows good conformance to the bitumen edge for 140 km (87 mi). To the northeast of the anticline, bitumen is present in a shallower trap domain in what is interpreted to be an onlap trap onto the Canadian Shield; leakage along the onlap edge is indicated by tarry bitumen outliers preserved in basement rocks farther to the northeast. Peripheral trap domains that lie below the paleospillpoint, in northern, southern, and southwestern Athabasca, and Wabasca, are interpreted to represent a late charge of oil that was trapped by bitumen already emplaced in the anticline and the northeastern onlap trap. This is consistent with kimberlite intrusions containing live bitumen, which indicate that the northern trap domain was charged not before 78 Ma. The trap restoration has been tested using bitumen-water contact well picks. The restored picks fall into groups that are consistent both with the trap domains determined from the top reservoir restoration and the conceptual charge model in which the four-way anticline was filled first, followed by the northeastern onlap trap, and then the peripheral trap domains.

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William L. Fisher, a past chairman of the AAPG Foundation’s Board of Trustees, past president of the Association and an award-winning leader of both entities for nearly 40 years is the winner of this year’s AAPG Foundation Chairman’s Award.
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Quiz time: When was the Nene Field, a 1.2 billion barrel field on the shelf in 90 feet of water, discovered?
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In the numerous histories written of the development of natural gas and oil in the United States, one name rarely encountered is that of Preston Barmore. This oversight likely is more a reflection of the sadly short life of this unassuming young man rather than any lack of contribution on his part to the burgeoning hydrocarbon industry of the late 19th century.
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AAPG Congressional Visit Days (CVD) are held annually in the spring in Washington, D.C. – and I was fortunate to participate this past March, adding the perspective of a graduate student to the event.
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Seismic inversion for acoustic impedance is widely used in our industry today, mainly due to the ease and accuracy of interpretation of impedance data, but also because it allows an integrated approach to geological interpretation. This month’s column refers to “inversion” as the transformation of seismic amplitude data into acoustic impedance data.
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Oil shale is a rich petroleum source rock that never got buried deep enough to generate oil and gas. Worldwide, oil shale is a massive resource that potentially could yield a trillion barrels of oil and gas equivalent.
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While reading Ed Catmull’s recent book, “Creativity, Inc.,” I was reminded of the story of George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars.
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During the several downturns that have occurred since I first went to work – and also sometimes during the upturns when things weren’t going so well for me work-wise – I have thought back to how and why I became a geologist.
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The historical city of Edinburgh, Scotland, was the site of a networking day where representatives of the YP groupings within AAPG and the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) developed critical skill sets by volunteering to become mentors to the first cohort of doctoral students from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)’s Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).
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The technical program is in place for the third annual Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTeC), which will be held July 20-22 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, and there’s still time to save $100 by registering before June 8.
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Recently Added Special Publications
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This volume highlights key challenges for fluid-flow prediction in carbonate reservoirs, the approaches currently employed to address these challenges and developments in fundamental science and technology.
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This publication is quite diverse in terms of topics, approaches, and philosophies, as well as in terms of the geological settings and operational aspects that are addressed. There is a good mix of theory, applications, resources, and practical advice, along with some historical perspectives and a sprinkling of futurism.
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The purpose of this publication is to review many of the current methods and paradigms that have been developed for the computer analysis of petrophysical logs for geological applications.
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This memoir is designed as a practical guide for students and professionals to learn the fundamentals of microscopic examination of sandstones, mudrocks, and associated rocks. With more than 1100 color illustrations, it covers the identification of grains, textures, and structures of clastic terrigenous rocks as well as their diagenetic alteration (compaction, cementation, dissolution, and replacement) and porosity reduction or enhancement. It also provides classification diagrams for formal description of those rocks and their porosity.
This memoir contains 15 well-illustrated, peer-reviewed chapters that describe the history of field development, the deposition and diagenesis of the reservoir rocks, geophysical characteristics of the field, special core analysis techniques used to better quantify the reservoir, petrophysical characteristics and interpretations of the reservoir, the types and abundance of natural fractures, and fluid production characteristics in the field. Finally, static and dynamic models for the field are presented in an attempt to integrate all the pieces of this giant geologic puzzle.
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This publication is a comprehensive overview of NGLs from production in the oil patch to consumption in the fuel and petrochemical industries.
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Contributions to this Special Issue highlight the importance of understanding the full geological context of self-sourced "resource" plays.
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This special issue of the AAPG Bulletin honors the legacy of J. Fred Read, a pioneer in carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy
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This lab book provides a unified methodology for problem solving in structural geology using linear algebra and computation.
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This zipped file contains geodatabase and xls (Excel) tables used by ExxonMobil in creating and editing geologic GIS feature classes and building attribute tables. AAPG Datapages, Inc. appreciates the efforts by the AAPG GIS Publication committee and ExxonMobil.
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These datasets depict the location and extent of oil and gas fields and pools across Pennsylvania, provide basic reservoir characterization data at the pool level (to the extent possible), and provide representative well-specific data to chronicle the evolution of the petroleum industry from the time of Drake’s well (Titusville, 1859) through the end of calendar year 2011.
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This is a regional study that stretches from Anderson County, Texas in the northeast to Fayette County, Texas in the southwest. The GIS data captures individual formations in the Wilcox Group, plus the Carrizo Sand unit: maximum sand thickness, net sand thickness, lignite thickness, resistivity of maximum sand thickness (to delineate ground water movement) and percent sand
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The data presented in the following files were sourced from the global heat flow database of the International Heat Flow Commission, which is managed by the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND USA.
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Deltaic depositional facies result from interacting dynamics processes (wave energy, tidal regime, currents, climate, etc.), which modify and disperse riverborne (fluvial) clastic deposits.

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Sequence stratigraphy is the study of genetically related facies within a framework of chronostratigraphically significant surfaces. Paleontologic data, integrated with seismic and well log data, are an integral part of sequence stratigraphic analysis.

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Pore type, pore geometry, and fluid properties are critical factors affecting permeability. Sandstone texture directly affects pore type and geometry. Knowing what textures and fluids to expect, as well as what authigenic clays might be present, can help us predict permeability

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Solar energy is the use of direct sunlight, the solar energy arriving on Earth. Direct sunlight can be used for two main purposes: for heating and cooling and for the generation of electricity.

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Seismic facies analysis is the description and interpretation of seismic reflection parameters, such as configuration, continuity, amplitude, and frequency, within the stratigraphic framework of a depositional sequence.

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An oil shale is defined as a fine-grained sedimentary rock that contains a high proportion of endogenous organic matter (kerogen) mostly insoluble in ordinary petroleum solvents, from which substantial amounts of synthetic oil and/or gas can be extracted by heating it to a sufficiently high temperature, a process called retorting. Oil shales have a low calorific value and high ash and mineral content.

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This year's AAPG Woodford Shale Forum focused on new information and optimization.  Included were presenters from the University of Oklahoma, Halliburton, Black Swan Energy Services, and Devon Energy just to name a few.

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AAPG International Shale Plays GTW shared New Technologies, Case Studies and Lessons Learned

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Seismic surveys are common in the Gulf of Mexico and around the globe. However, some elected officials, concerned local citizens and national environmental organizations are voicing their opposition to seismic in the Atlantic outer continental shelf (OCS). This opposition may be based on concern that the sound generated by airguns will disturb marine mammals or that seismic surveys will facilitate oil and gas development that will negatively affect peoples’ livelihood or damage the environment.
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Telpico Colombia LLC's donation, a perpetual subscription to AAPG Datapages, provides access to 145,000 publications for students, faculty and visitors to Colombia's largest educational institution.
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This year's competition featured a virtual round, with 17 universities participating via WebEx. Four teams advanced to the Semifinal round in Trinidad and Tobago, where students from Simón Bolívar University, of Caracas, Venezuela were named Latin America Region champions.
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New Q&A videos are available for the 2015-16 AAPG Executive Committee candidates.

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The AAPG Latin america Region winners for the Imperial Barrel Award of 2015 are from Simon Bolivar University.

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The Geological Theory and Technological Innovation Youth Academic Forum is an international academic forum, which combines science, innovation, and research. It is aimed at communicating new research results, new thoughts, new ideas, new methods and new areas, promoting international geological theory, technology and application, and in obtaining in-depth and comprehensive developments, with the goal of break-through geological explorations.

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