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A new era for geologic exploration is emerging for 2 basic reasons: (1) exploration methods of the past are simply not adequate to meet the present and future demands of a burgeoning world population with an accelerated appetite for mineral and petroleum resources, and (2) the space age is bringing with it new technology that holds great promise for revolutionizing the exploration techniques of yesterday.
Notable advances in exploration within the past decade have been made in on-the-ground geophysical technology. The new devices have proved effective for accurately detecting deep-seated petroleum structures and buried mineral deposits. However, by their very nature, involving great expense in relation to area analyzed, these are for the most part detailing or focusing tools that must be used selectively in areas having the greatest exploration potential. A prerequisite to their proper and efficient use is the conduct of effective preliminary reconnaissance surveys to localize the areas of most promise.
The greatest hope for meeting the challenge of the future lies in achieving commensurate advances in reconnaissance exploration technology. Broad-scale exploration programs must be planned and conducted from a regional framework of understanding. An integrated exploration concept utilizing a wide and varied range of reconnaissance remote sensing devices offers the greatest potential to achieve the necessary broad perspective.
What is the role of photogeology in general and applied geomorphology in particular for these new exploration programs? For effective reconnaissance exploration, the surface is the place to begin--not only in areas of abundant outcrops and obvious structure, but also in glaciated regions, dense jungles, or featureless coastal plains, areas where the surface has previously been neglected in the search for oil, gas, and minerals. The practical application of geomorphic principles to these problem areas offers interesting possibilities for future large-scale exploration programs.
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