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Airborne geophysical investigation of former opencast lignite mining areas using machine learning and other techniques

As part of project D-AERO Finsterwalde, the “Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe” (BGR) carried out an airborne geophysical study in a former opencast lignite mining area in summer 2021. The area (260 km², 1742 line-km) surveyed using BGR’s helicopter-borne geophysical system (electromagnetics (EM), magnetics and radiometrics) is located about 60 km southwest of the city of Cottbus. The project was conducted in cooperation with “Lausitzer und Mitteldeutsche Bergbau-Verwaltungsgesellschaft” (LMBV) and in consultation with “Landesamt für Bergbau, Geologie und Rohstoffe Brandenburg“ (LBGR). The results (Siemon et al., 2022) include a comparison of the resistivity models derived from EM data with a geological database provided by LMBV and corroborates the validity of the resistivity models.

We present here the first results of “FINA”, a new project by BGR´s „Forschungs- und Entwicklungszentrum Bergbaufolgen” (FEZB) that, among several other goals, aims to make use of the collected helicopter-borne EM information to complement the previous analysis. Using machine-learning algorithms, the EM models are analyzed searching for patterns previously not seen. An in-depth analysis is performed based on geological and geophysical databases, now complemented with geophysical logs and further geological borehole information provided by LBGR. These results will be used in the near future to refine a new 3D geological model of Lusatia currently in development, in order to obtain a better understanding of the water distribution and flow patterns in that region.


Olaf Josafat Cortes Arroyo1, Bernhard Siemon1, Silvio Janetz1, Marcus Fahle1, Elisabeth Schönfeldt1
1Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR), Germany
GeoBerlin 2023