Geophysics is a powerful tool for looking inside the Earth to find oil, minerals, water, or almost anything with contrast to the rock around it. As an innovative, complex, specialized science applied to a difficult natural environment in a high-risk, entrepreneurial business environment, the field is attractive to over-confident inventors and slick scam artists looking to cash in on the money available for high risk ventures. Voodoo geophysics shows common characteristics: the accuracy promised, the business style, field operations, doubtful or absent theoretical basis, the marketing approach, and level of secrecy adopted. Many methods from the Dark Side of geophysics are offered in the honest belief that the gadget invented in a garage really does skirt the laws of physics. Sadly, a PhD or P.Geo can always be found who will sign off on a voodoo method, so users have to be wary and skeptical to guard their budget.
This talk will discuss how the characteristic factors can be assessed by user who applies sound critical analysis (extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence), some psychology (a good magician can fool a good scientist), and basic common sense (there’s no free lunch) to assess the risk that the wonder-system being offered might be a waste of money.
Greg Hodges is a Senior Geophysicist at Sander Geophysics. Since 1980 his career has included most types of mineral exploration geophysics, with a strong concentration on electromagnetic methods. He's worked as a ground geophysical contractor, in junior and major mining companies, and (for the last 24 years)...Read More