What is reservoir geology? Reservoir geology belongs to the geological sciences and deals with the study of the natural accumulation of solid, liquid or gaseous raw materials (resources) in the earth’s crust that can be used for economic or industrial purposes.
The task of this field is to provide industrial structures with information about the sources of raw materials. For this reason, reservoir geology terminology is often used synonymously with economic geology. As a branch of applied geology, reservoir science is also responsible for a wide range of services during the exploitation of raw materials.
Reservoir geology as a science
The purpose of deposit geology research is to learn the origin and location of ore deposits and minerals associated with the deposits. This includes the allocation of resources, the costs and benefits of reclaiming them, and assessing the value and availability of materials. The raw materials studied include ore (rocks or minerals with economic value) as well as fossil fuels ranging from oil to coal.
Although metals, minerals and other geological resources are non-renewable, the permanent reserves of most mineral resources are enormous. An example is copper. At the current rate of depletion, this resource will be completely depleted in over 100 million years. Nevertheless, geologists continue to successfully develop and define known mineral resources.
The impression of a fixed or limited scarcity paradigm has always led to an abundance of innovation. Demand for metals and other natural resources is increasing, and in some cases demand has already exceeded supply. The discovery of new deposits or the exploitation of known lower-grade ores can offer new solutions, but their implementation is not always straightforward given political constraints and the complexity of international trade. Therefore, the efficiency of the actions taken, which results from the use of reservoir geology, is important here.
The concept of economic geology as such is relatively new, even though humans have extracted valuable metals and minerals from the earth since prehistoric times. However, for all its ability to appreciate the value of these resources, humanity in previous eras had little knowledge of the scientific theories regarding their formation or how to extract them.
Exploration and evaluation of deposits
An important field of operation of the theory of reservoir geology is the exploration of potentially mining areas as well as the development and exploration of discovered deposits. This requires careful field sampling, mainly by boreholes. The purpose of this work is to determine the exact location of the deposit, as well as to calculate the reserves. In this context, deposit science is often referred to as mining geology.
Often, an area is classified by the most economically significant component, such as gold or uranium deposits, from a reservoir geology point of view. On the other hand, deposit science methods go far beyond the immediate and practical needs of the resource industry and overlap with the scientific disciplines of structural geology, geochemistry, geophysics, mineralogy, petrography and, in the case of biogenic deposits, paleontology. The aim of these studies is the systematics of deposits, which is not only economically, but also scientifically justified.
Types of mining resources
Different types of economic resources require different research methods and require different management models. Therefore, mining resources are divided into three main groups:
Among the most important metal deposits are gold, platinum, iron, nickel, copper, aluminum, chromium, selenium, vanadium, lead, uranium, etc. These minerals have an intermediate value and are traded in goods, i.e. their origin does not play a dominant role.
Industrial or non-metallic minerals
These materials tend to be of low value and high volume, so they are usually mined close to or at the source of production. Within non-metallic or industrial deposits, there are mainly deposits of materials used on a daily basis in modern economy, such as: stone, carbonates (limestone, dolomite), salts, sulphides, magnesite, gypsum, talc, fluorite, asbestos, gravel and sand, marble , granite, clay, etc.
Precious and semi-precious stones
In the deposits of precious stones we find diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire. Semi-precious stones include lapis lazuli, agate, garnet (mineral), jasper, jade, zircon, opal, tourmaline, etc. The importance and value of a gem depends on the quality of the stone, its purity and origin. These types of deposits tend to be of medium size and high value, but their production depends on global economic conditions and therefore their price is volatile.
In recent years, more attention has been paid to water as a non-renewable resource that is necessary for every aspect of human activity. The science dealing with the study of water resources is hydrogeology, but geology, and especially deposit geology, is of great importance in the study of waters present in the aquifers of a given area.