Volume 99, Issue 4
December 1990, pages 439-738
pp 439-439 December 1990
pp 441-471 December 1990
This paper reviews the magnetotelluric (MT) method with emphasis on recent improvements and the emerging applications. Recent improvements are in recognition of statics effects and their treatment, and in analysis of impedance tensors in 3D structural conditions. In spite of substantial progress in the analysis of the tensor, there are still unresolved questions regarding its information content, in terms of degrees of freedom.
There has also been slow but steady progress in inversion, with the development of methods of downward continuation in 1D, 2D and 3D, in time, depth and frequency domains. An improved understanding of the limitations of MT is leading to more joint use with other methods.
At shallow depths MT has become an accepted weapon in the arsenal used to explore for petroleum, geothermal resources and epithermal gold and deep base metals. Improved understanding of the relations between conductivity and rock composition and fabric will make MT more useful for engineering purposes in future. Progress in understanding the cause of conduction in the deep crust and upper mantle has been less rapid, and the many anomalies remain enigmatic.
Whereas MT is now a useful technique with some unique applications, there are obviously important and difficult problems remaining to be solved.
pp 473-514 December 1990
The problem of inversion of potential field data is a challenging one because of the difficulty in obtaining a unique solution. This paper identifies various types of nonuniqueness and argues that it is neither possible nor necessary to remove all categories of nonuniqueness. Some types of nonuniqueness are due to human limitations and choice and these would always persist.
Listing all the solutions, imposing additional constraints on the acceptable solutions, a priori idealization, use of a priori or supplementary information, characterizing what is common to all the solutions, obtaining extremal solutions, seeking a distribution of all possible solutions, etc. are various responses in the face of nonuniqueness. It is shown that merely the form of nonuniqueness is changed by all these techniques. Some algorithms, which should be used to obtain the global minimum of the objective function are discussed.
The conceptual commonality underlying seemingly different approaches and the possibility of nonunique interpretations of the same numerical results due to different axiomatic contexts are both elucidated.
pp 515-547 December 1990
The magnetic method is the oldest and one of the most widely used geophysical techniques for exploring the earth’s subsurface. It is a relatively easy and inexpensive tool to employ, being applicable to a wide variety of subsurface exploration problems involving horizontal magnetic property variations occurring from near the base of the crust to within the uppermost meter of soil. Successful applications of the magnetic method require an in-depth understanding of its basic principles and careful field work, data reduction, and interpretation. Commonly, interpretations are limited to qualitative approaches which simply map the spatial location of anomalous subsurface conditions, but under favourable circumstances the technological status of the method will permit more quantitative interpretations involving specification of the nature of the anomalous sources. No other geophysical method provides critical input to such a wide variety of problems. However, seldom does the magnetic method provide the complete answer to an investigation problem. As a result, it is generally used in concert with other geophysical and geological data to limit its interpretational ambiguities.
pp 549-579 December 1990
Generalized equations for the anomalies in any component of the earth’s magnetic field due to two-dimensional bodies of arbitrary magnetization are derived in terms of a new parameter, called the direction of measurement. Schemes for inverting the magnetic anomalies of arbitrarily magnetized dykes and basement topographies are then developed and the relevant computer software is presented. In both the schemes, the initial values of the parameters are calculated by the computer, so that the input merely consists of the anomalies and their distances. The differences in the observed and calculated anomalies are solved iteratively for the errors in initial values of the parameters.
pp 581-618 December 1990
Among the first measurements made from near-Earth orbiting satellites were measurements of the magnetic field. The sources of that field lie both within the Earth, in its core and crust, and in the surrounding ionosphere and magnetosphere. This article summarizes some of the methodology and results for studies of the Earth’s mantle and crust. Mantle conductivity studies can be made either by studying signals impressed on the Earth from outside, e.g., the ionosphere or magnetosphere, or by studying signals originating in the core and transmitted through the mantle. Crustal field studies begin with a careful selection of the data and subsequent removal of core and external fields by some sort of filtering. Average maps from different local times sometimes differ, presumably due to the remaining presence of fields of external origin. Several techniques for further filtering are discussed. Where large-area aeromagnetic maps are available, crustal maps derived from satellite data can be compared with upward continued data. In general, the comparisons show agreement, with some differences, particularly in and near the auroral belts. The satellite data are further reduced by various methods of inverse and forward modelling, sometimes including reduction to the pole (RTP). These techniques are generally unstable at the equator. Common methods of stabilizing the inversions include principle components analysis and ridge regression. Because of the presence of the core field, the entire crustal contribution from the field is not known. Also, there is a basic nonuniqueness to the inverse solutions. Nevertheless, magnetizations that are interpretable can be derived.
pp 619-637 December 1990
Data collected by Magsat have been extensively used by Indian scientists in studies of the crust beneath India. Results obtained by various workers have been summarized and the reasons for differences in findings have been discussed. It is concluded that methods that work well for higher latitudes do not give the best estimates of crustal field and magnetization in equatorial regions. A better estimate of the crustal component is obtained when the external current contribution is estimated using the symmetry properties of associatedX and Z-fields. Inversion technique that provides stable crustal magnetization in midlatitudes, becomes unstable near the equator. Why such an instability arises and how it can be circumvented are discussed. That the Peninsular shield, the Ganga basin and the Himalayas are three different geotectonic blocks is clearly reflected in the magnetization distribution. A thick magnetic crust under Aravalli, Singhbum and Dharwar suggest these areas to be comparatively stable. In general, seismic, gravity and heat flow data agree characteristically well with the magnetization estimates.
pp 639-656 December 1990
Electromagnetometry at the sea floor has been developed over the last two decades taking advantage of the progress of positioning and acoustic technology in marine region. In spite of its risks and costs, electromagnetometry at the sea floor has significantly contributed to the study of conductivity anomalies through direct observations of electromagnetic variations at the sea floor. Some of the fruitful results of the ocean bottom observations around Japan as well as data processing of sea floor electromagnetic measurements are reviewed. Future problems in electromagnetometry at the sea floor are also discussed. In conclusion, the importance of establishing semipermanent electromagnetic observatories at the sea floor is emphasized.
pp 657-667 December 1990
The paper deals with the application of the telluric method and of magnetotelluric soundings including experimental and model data on the localization of tectonic disturbances in connection with the selection of appropriate sites for nuclear plants.
pp 669-680 December 1990
Extensive work on the palaeomagnetism of the Deccan traps by several workers has revealed only one reversal (normal-reverse-normal) of the geomagnetic field during the period of eruption of these flows. The scatter in the natural remanent magnetic directions of different flows in a sequence of these traps is rather large and it persists even after magnetic cleaning. Generally this large scatter of directions is attributed to the geomagnetic secular variation during formation of the traps. Recent studies of the magnetic properties of the trap samples indicate that the presence of multidomain magnetite in a lava sequence differs from locality to locality in the Deccan trap province and so the stability of their natural remanent magnetization. While these features can be clearly perceived, an understanding of the same seems to be quite difficult. However, it appears that part of the scatter in directions could be due to the alteration of the magnetic minerals in the Deccan traps and hence it would not be proper to relate the entire scatter to the secular variation.
pp 681-692 December 1990
The nature of horizontal anomalies and anomalous current systems in the region of the southern Indian peninsula is theoretically calculated with the aid of a thin sheet algorithm for northward and westward polarizations of a uniform inducing magnetic Held of period 20 min. The numerical model of the geoelectric structure is the one devised by Agarwal and Weaver (1989). The model results indicate the correspondence between the general features of the computed horizontal anomalies and the observed anomalies both at temporary array stations and at two permanent magnetic observatories (ANN and TRD). On the basis of model estimates of apparent resistivity and phase it is suggested that a one-dimensional interpretation of the sub-surface conductivity structure is valid near two of the array stations, whereas at all other coastal and inland stations, two-or three-dimensional interpretations of magnetotelluric (MT) data are required.
pp 693-716 December 1990
Significant results from several array of magnetometers deployed in India to probe deep geoelectrical structures of the crust and the upper mantle are reviewed in this paper. Emphasis is on critical appraisal of earlier results so that the article summarizes what has been done so far and what caution is to be taken on future work.
Two large-scale arrays over northwest and peninsular India during 1979–80, have been followed up with six more linear or two-dimensional arrays over different parts of the country.
“Trans-Himalayan” conductor aligned along the strike of Aravalli range, delineated by arrays over northwest India, essentially represents one of the major continental induction anomalies mapped by electromagnetic methods. Efforts for quantifying the induction effects through numerical models are shown to be constrained due to the large inter-station spacing, lack of information on the regional background conductivity distribution and the non-inclusion of the frequency dependence of induction effects. A more comprehensive modelling, not biased by these factors, enables approximating the Trans-Himalayan conductor as an asymmetric domal upwarp in the middle and lower crust located between Delhi-Hardwar ridge and Moradabad fault. Numerical modelling results for southern peninsular, despite the constraints, indicate that the strong and complex induction pattern can be adequately attributed to the combination of conductors connected with triple junction between Indo-Ceylon Graben, Comorin ridge and the west coast rifting.
Induction features derived from the Valsad array, operated over basalt-covered region of western India, demarcate an enhanced conducting zone beneath Plume-associated triple junction in the Gulf of Cambay, apart from characterizing the presently active seismic zone as a resistive block.
pp 717-738 December 1990
As part of the Sino-French earth science programme in Tibet, magnetotelluric and geomagnetic soundings were carried out in the southwestern part of Tibet.
Eight magnetotelluric sounding sites and nineteen geomagnetic stations were occupied along roughly north-south profiles. The magnetotelluric profile runs from Lhozag to the south of Yangbajain to the north. The geomagnetic profile runs from Lang Kartse to Gulu.
These experiments indicate a conductive layer at about 25 km in depth. This layer corresponds to the isotherm 1100°C. Shallow conductive structures related to the presence of significant partial melting were evidenced to the south of the Zangbo suture. A conductive structure was also evidenced at about 15 km in depth below the Nyainquentanglha range. This structure may correspond to partial melting due to the presence of fluids at the dipping plane between two overthrusting crustal blocks.