A comparison of the use of X-ray and neutron tomographic core scanning techniques for drilling projects: insights from scanning core recovered during the Alpine Fault Deep Fault Drilling Project
- 1Department of Geology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
- 2Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights NSW 2234, Australia
Abstract. It is now commonplace for non-destructive X-ray computed tomography (CT) scans to be taken of core recovered during a drilling project. However, other forms of tomographic scanning are available, and these may be particularly useful for core that does not possess significant contrasts in density and/or atomic number to which X-rays are sensitive. Here, we compare CT and neutron tomography (NT) scans of 85 mm diameter core recovered during the first phase of the Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP-1) through New Zealand's Alpine Fault. For the instruments used in this study, the highest resolution images were collected in the NT scans. This allows clearer imaging of some rock features than in the CT scans. However, we observe that the highly neutron beam attenuating properties of DFDP-1 core diminish the quality of images towards the interior of the core. A comparison is also made of the suitability of these two scanning techniques for a drilling project. We conclude that CT scanning is far more favourable in most circumstances. Nevertheless, it could still be beneficial to take NT scans over limited intervals of suitable core, where varying contrast is desired.