Due to the highly favourable platinum market over the past decade, a substantial investment has gone into the customization of the 3D seismic reflection method for the unique requirements of the Bushveld Igneous Complex. All of the major South African platinum producers have capitalized on these technology advancements for the purposes of mine planning, risk reduction and development. Over and above their primary value as sources of excellent structural information, the high-resolution 3D seismic data volumes hold a tremendous amount of additional geological and geophysical information. Impulse Geophysical Consulting Services (Impulse) has been afforded the latitude to investigate a host of seismic attributes of the Impala Platinum Ltd. (Impala) 3D survey that was undertaken in 2000. Surface drainage patterns, subsurface weathering profiles, the middling distances between the UG2 and Merensky Reefs as well as the distribution and orientation of fault networks, dykes and iron-rich ultramafic pegmatite (IRUP) bodies were evaluated with particular reference to the root-mean square seismic energy values that were originally extracted by the Rock Deformation Research Group (Leeds University, U.K.). Until recently, very little was known about the seismic response of IRUP bodies. A detailed study including the forward modelling of these features (in the form of synthetic seismograms) yielded some useful results: IRUP bodies have high densities and reflect seismic energy where their thicknesses exceed ± 20m (owing to the seismic source bandwith). As a result, the underlying economic targets are relatively poorly imaged where they occur between thick intersections of these ultramafic bodies. Although more frequent in distribution, IRUP intersections that are thinner tend to be relatively transparent to seismic waves and do not result in significant energy losses.


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