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Detailed interpretation of aeromagnetic data from the Patagonia Mountains area, southeastern Arizona

March 24, 2015

The induced magnetic field and the remanent magnetic field of rock masses are important to geologic modeling based on Earth’s magnetic field data. The orientation of the induced magnetic field is approximately parallel to the orientation of Earth’s geomagnetic field and its intensity can be derived from measured magnetic susceptibilities of rocks in a study area. The orientation and intensity of the natural remanent magnetic field is much harder to determine; therefore, few investigators have included magnetic remanence as a contributing factor to studies of continental magnetic anomalies. All rocks have remanent magnetism and, in intrusive or volcanic rocks, this component of the total magnetic intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field can be as large as or larger than the induced component.

The Patagonia Mountains in southeastern Arizona were selected to produce a subsurface geologic model from aeromagnetic data by incorporating physical properties of rock including measured magnetic susceptibilities, estimated remanent magnetic field orientations and intensities, a known association of intrusive events, and information from existing geologic mapping. The result is a model of geology at depth that may better represent reality than previous poorly substantiated cross sectional models. This new model includes concealed intrusive rocks and defines areas where concealed mineral deposits may be found. It also shows that volcanic rocks might occupy basins at relatively shallow depths in basins with low aeromagnetic anomalies.

Euler deconvolution depth estimates derived from aeromagnetic data with a structural index of 0 show that mapped faults on the northern margin of the Patagonia Mountains generally agree with the depth estimates in the new geologic model. The deconvolution depth estimates also show that the concealed Patagonia Fault southwest of the Patagonia Mountains is more complex than recent geologic mapping represents. Additionally, Euler deconvolution depth estimates with a structural index of 2 locate many potential intrusive bodies that might be associated with known and unknown mineralization.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Detailed interpretation of aeromagnetic data from the Patagonia Mountains area, southeastern Arizona
DOI 10.3133/sir20155029
Authors Mark W. Bultman
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2015-5029
Index ID sir20155029
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center