Kansas Geological Survey on Multi-Sensor Core Logging: Interview by Geotek

Kansas Geological Survey on Multi-Sensor Core Logging: Interview by Geotek

As a well-established institute and advocate in Earth science research, the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) have been investigating subsurface geology During that time, they’ve generated many published reports and geological maps which play a pivotal role in our understanding of the region’s rich geological history. Much of their focus has centred around the analysis of core samples.

Kansas Geological Survey MSCL-S training

The digitisation of geoscientific information has been gaining momentum. Through modern breakthroughs in innovative techniques such as multi-sensor core logging systems, digitisation has evolved dramatically. Such developments in high-resolution, multi-parametric core scanning are currently being employed by Kansas Geological Survey.

In this Q&A session, we speak with Kansas Geological Survey’s Associate Scientist, Dr. Franek Hasiuk (“Franek” rhymes with “sonic”) to get an idea of the core logging operations that take place at the Survey. Franek sheds light on how the MSCL-S is utilised, and what a profound impact it’s had on their research efforts.

MSCL-S Integrates into Core Scanning Operations

Q: How has the MSCL-S system been utilised over the past year?

Over the past year, we have been scanning mostly cores from the famous Pennsylvanian (Upper Carboniferous) cyclothems located in the Cherokee-Forest City Basin spanning across Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and the Osage Nation. This work has been supported by grants from the US National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, and the US Geological Survey; the objective being to assess critical mineral distribution and to revise stratigraphic nomenclature. Additionally, the MSCL-S has been fed local salt cores, basaltic cores, and carbonatite cores, with focus on critical mineral and hydrogen projects in the region.

Q: How has the MSCL advanced your analytical capabilities?

By generating petrophysical and geochemical data from cores that lacked downhole well log data, the MSCL-S has substantially enhanced our analytical capabilities. For cores where well log data does exist, the MSCL-S provides precise core-to-log calibration, which enables us to identify geological factors impacting petrophysical and geochemical data with greater accuracy. This will allow us to build more sophisticated models of critical mineral distribution in the basin

Q: What types of core have you scanned, and how have you been using the acquired datasets?

We’ve scanned sandstones, limestones, shales, and coals from the renowned Pennsylvanian cyclothems. These datasets have played a critical role in enhancing our geological understanding of these charismatic units, through giving us a more thorough description of the rock cores. Notably, the petrophysical datasets have revealed changes in the downcore geology too subtle for the human eye to detect. Additionally, the data acquired from the Vanta XRF sensor has been used as a comparison for the downhole elemental logging data collected via a pulsed neutron technique. The XRF data was used to assess the downhole sensor’s downhole elemental data capabilities.

Comparative Analysis

Q: How do the MSCL-S data and historical data compare?

The data generated by our MSCL-S significantly expands upon traditional well logging methodologies. The spectral gamma ray sensor has enabled highly accurate comparison of downcore vs downhole data, which helps our geologists with the precise identification of core depths. Coring in itself is more of an art than a science at the early stages, so having the physical core samples as the ground truthing is a valuable asset. Additionally, the comprehensive geochemistry provided by the Vanta XRF extends beyond traditional well log data, offering further insights into the geochemistry of the basin’s rocks that were previously unattainable.

Future Projects and Goals Involving the MSCL-S 

Q: What is in the road map at Kansas Geological Survey?

Looking ahead, our aspirations are to establish a centre of excellence at the Kansas Geological Survey, with primary focus on petrophysics and geochemistry. This centre will harness the wealth of our vast core and cuttings collection, to develop a repository of highly accurate and precise measurements of rock properties. Our ambition is to disseminate these vital resources to industry, government, and academia, fostering collaborative advancements in Earth sciences.

Q: What impact has the MSCL-S had on your Core Logging Operations?

The MSCL-S transformed our core description and analysis workflows. It has granted us insight into both new and legacy core samples, extending the value of existing information derived from well logs, seismic data, and core analyses, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the subsurface properties.

A New Digital Era

We’d like to thank Franek for providing us with some really interesting insights into how the KGS have been using the MSCL-S since its installation, and what’s in store for its future operations.

Kansas Geological Survey’s addition of an MSCL-S has made digitisation of core and cuttings possible, introducing a new digital era of core sample analysis. Platforms like the MSCL-S, are propelling the boundaries of Earth science, allowing us to make ground-breaking discoveries from both new and legacy cores. As the MSCL-S continues to provide detailed stratigraphic insight, the possibilities for unlocking invaluable geological insights continue to increase.

If you’d like to learn more about the MSCL-S technology, please get in touch via sales@geotek.co.uk.