What is it about?

As geoscientists, we are motivated by natural curiosity and a desire to advance geological knowledge, understand the processes, develop new ideas, explore, and make discoveries. As entrepreneurs we want to use cutting-edge technologies and the most efficient methods to achieve our business goals. That means we’re always on the lookout for new ideas and technologies. These motivations have great influence on science and technology development, but as a drawback, they can be also a fertile ground for “voodoo science”. Unfortunately, the exploration industry has always been plagued with near-magical oil sniffers and gold detectors. These methods might sometimes look like geophysics, but they do not work, waste money, and cause damage to the reputation and business of real geophysics.

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Why is it important?

It has been 87 years since L. W. Blau’s “Black magic in geophysical prospecting” publication (Blau, 1936) and 18 years since publication of Greg Hodges’ “Dealing with the dark side of geophysics” commentary (Hodges, 2005), but as one might expect, new, near-magical oil, gold, and water finders keep appearing.


Whatever you do, be wary, keep your eyes open, and do not fall for a slick sales pitch. Caveat emptor!

Snr. Specialist, Non-seismic Geophysics Antony Price

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This page is a summary of: Beware the geophysics of Wonderland!, Interpretation, May 2023, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, DOI: 10.1190/int-2023-0420-fe.1.
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