The fractal analysis software makes it feasible to map the variable dimensions of complexity in linear geologic features.  


In the picture at left, significant mineral deposits are found with the domain of dimensional values greater than 1.20.

Software for Mineral Exploration

UAF Researchers use Fractals to find Mineral Deposits

Finding Mineral Deposits with Fractals


Many have tried to examine a fractal pattern and calculate its fractal dimension in order to find new mineral deposits.  The problem is that generating a map across a region is labor-intensive due to the degree of geologic complexity. 


To make it easier to measure an area's variable geologic complexity, Dr. Milt Wiltse at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has produced several software tools that examine the spatial relationship between geologic complexity and mineralization.

Dr. Milt Wiltse and his colleagues at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geographic Information of Alaska have developed software tools for mineral exploration efforts.  
The software analyzes existing maps of known mineral occurrence locations and geologic features to find areas that are favorable for mineral exploration.
The software is available under license, and the inventor is interested in cooperative research agreements to advance the development of the mineral exploration software.





Using Fractals for Work


From snowflakes to spiral galaxies, simple mathematical equations govern the patterns that we find in nature. These equations, known as fractals, produce repeating patterns at every scale.  


For example, many plants have a thick branch (trunk) that branches into one or more smaller branches, which in turn split into one or more smaller branches, and so on. The pattern is similar at each scale, from the twigs to the main tree trunk.








An example of a simple self-similar linear pattern that exhibit a regular fractal-like geometry.



Fractal-like patterns are found throughout in nature, especially in geology.  Scientists have found that geologic fault, igneous rock, and fracture locations, fall along fractal lines.  Because mineral locations correlate with these locations, it's no wonder that mathematicians, scientists and engineers have worked to make practical use of fractal patterns since Benoit B. Mandelbrot first described these concepts in 1982.





The Fractal Analysis tool can be implmented in Esri ArcGIS.

To license the software, please click here.

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Fractal Software
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If you have questions about using the software, or about future developments, please contact us.

Future Opportunities to Use the Software


Nanook Innovation Corporation plans to license the software to an exploration firm, and Dr. Wiltse is available to work with mineral exploration companies to develop additional exploration risk reduction tools under a research agreement.  If you are interested in using the software or working with Dr. Wiltse, please contact

The Distance Distribution software  targets spatial associations between mineral occurrences and geologic features.  This makes the software useful for suggesting favorable and inclusive domains for future exploration.

Distance Distribution Software

The Fry Analysis software identifiies obscure spatial alignment trends in sets of point data.


Using recorded point locations of mines and prospects, the dominant local alignment of deposits, shown as red dots on the map at left, relative to one another is significantly different than the overall regional alignment of the full set of deposits

Fry Plot Software

The Toolkit


UAF Inventors have developed 3 software tools that are useful in guiding mineral exploration efforts.  

 Above, a Fractal-like Pattern is shown in in South Africa at 32°22'32.01" S  20°17'31.91" E.  Picture inspired by Google Earth and Paul Bourke.  More Fractal Shots can be found at Paul Bourke's site.


Download the whitepaper.

Download the whitepaper.

Download the whitepaper.

Fractal Dimensions of Mapped Faults
Fractal Dimensions of Mapped Faults

The fractal analysis software enables a user to map the dimensions of complexity in sets of geographic features. At left is a map of local complexity dimensions derived from a fractal-like fault set in the Livengood Quadrangle, Alaska. Significant mineral deposits are found within the domain of dimensional values greater than 1.20.

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distance distribution.png
distance distribution.png

For mineral exploration it is useful to know whether there is a verifiable spatial association between the location of resource occurrences and some geological feature set such as faults, igneous intrusive contacts, fold axes, etc. The Distance Distribution software tests whether there is a positive spatial association between known mineral occurrence locations and specified sets of geologic features at levels of confidence that are unlikely to have occurred by chance.

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Cleary Summit.png
Cleary Summit.png

Knowing whether known mineral occurrences, or other geologic phenomena have a systematic spatial alignment trend can be useful in guiding new exploration efforts. GINA software can identify obscure spatial alignment trends in sets of mineral occurrence location data that may indicate important but previously unrecognized geologic processes that influenced the emplacement of the deposits.

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