Magnetic radial inversion for 3-D source geometry estimation

(2021) Leonardo B. Vital, Vanderlei C. Oliveira Jr., Valéria C. F. Barbosa


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Vital, L. B., V. C. Oliveira Jr. and V. C. F. Barbosa (2021), Magnetic radial inversion for 3-D source geometry estimation, Geophysical Journal International, just accepted, doi:10.1093/gji/ggab195

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We present a method for inverting total-field anomaly data to estimate the geometry of a uniformly magnetized 3-D geological source in the subsurface. The method assumes the total-magnetization direction is known. We approximate the source by an ensemble of vertically juxtaposed right prisms, all of them with the same total-magnetization vector and depth extent. The horizontal cross-section of each prism is a polygon defined by a given number of equi-angularly spaced vertices from 0○ to 360○, whose polygon vertices are described by polar coordinates with an origin defined by a horizontal location over the top of each prism. Because our method estimates the radii of each polygon vertex we refer to it as radial inversion. The position of these vertices, the horizontal location of each prism, and the depth extent of all prisms are the parameters to be estimated by solving a constrained nonlinear inverse problem of minimizing a goal function. We run successive inversions for a range of tentative total-magnetization intensities and depths to the top of the shallowest prism. The estimated models producing the lowest values of the goal function form the set of candidate solutions. To obtain stabilized solutions, we impose the zeroth- and first-order Tikhonov regularizations on the shape of the prisms. The method allows estimating the geometry of both vertical and inclined sources, with a constant direction of magnetization, by using the Tikhonov regularization. Tests with synthetic data show that the method can be of utility in estimating the shape of the magnetic source even in the presence of a strong regional field. Results obtained by inverting airborne total-field anomaly data over the Anitápolis alkaline-carbonatitic complex, in southern Brazil, suggest that the emplacement of the magnetic sources was controlled by NW-SE-trending faults at depth, in accordance with known structural features at the study area.