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From 2D to 3D Modeling of Mineral Prospectivity Using Multi-source Geoscience Datasets, Wulong Gold District, China

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The Wulong gold district (WGD) is located at the northeastern margin of the North China Carton (NCC) on the Liaodong Peninsula, China. The results of early mineral exploration, mining, and metallogenic modeling research show that gold deposition was associated with lithospheric thinning of the NCC and the emplacement of voluminous Early Cretaceous intrusions. In this study, multi-source information on the ore formation and geology (including geophysical, geochemical, and remote sensing data) was used to construct two-dimensional (2D) prospectivity maps at multiple levels (surface (0 m), − 500 m, − 1000 m, − 1500 m, − 2000 m, − 2500 m, and − 3000 m) for subsurface mineral exploration in the WGD. The methodology employed consists of four steps. Firstly, three-dimensional (3D) geological and geophysical models were constructed using UBC-GIF and SKUA-GOCAD software. 3D geophysical modeling included 3D gravity and magnetic inversions, and 3D resistivity models were based on 2D magnetotelluric (MT) inversion. Secondly, multi-source, ore-forming, and geoscientific data were integrated using radial basis function link net modeling technology within ArcGIS-SDM. Thirdly, multiple-level 2D prospectivity maps were integrated using the discrete smooth interpolation method within the SKUA-GOCAD software to produce 3D prospecting models. Finally, posterior probabilities were classified to delineate 3D exploration targets using the concentration–volume fractal method (GeoCube software, v. 2.0). The results suggest that: (1) the Early Cretaceous intrusions are key ore-forming and ore-controlling objects within the WGD, and a potential target is the western part of the Sanguliu intrusion at depths from 1000 to 3000 m, in the zone where the Wulong and Yangjia gold deposits cross; (2) there are potential targets within 2500 m of the Wulong gold deposit; however, (3) there are no potential targets from 1000 to 3000 m in the Sigdaogou gold deposit.

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This research was supported by the National Key Research and Development Programs of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0600107), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41572318), and the China Scholarship Council (201906400019). The authors wish to thank the Manager, Haicheng Qiu, (Wulong Gold Mine, Chifeng Gold Group) and Professors Deming Sha and Dongtao Li (Shenyang Geological Survey of CGS, China) for providing multiple geoscience datasets relating to the WGD. We are also grateful to Professor Lizhen Cheng and Dr. Xueping Dai (Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue) for their assistance with geophysical interpretation, which helped to improve the manuscript. Furthermore, we express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Oliver P. Kreuzer and another anonymous reviewers for providing useful comments that helped us to enhance the quality of this paper.

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Correspondence to Jiaojiao Zhang or Gongwen Wang.

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Zhang, Z., Zhang, J., Wang, G. et al. From 2D to 3D Modeling of Mineral Prospectivity Using Multi-source Geoscience Datasets, Wulong Gold District, China. Nat Resour Res 29, 345–364 (2020).

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  • 2D prospectivity mapping
  • 3D prospecting
  • C–V fractal method
  • Metallogenic model
  • Wulong gold district