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The use of curvature in potential-field interpretation

December 31, 2007

Potential-field anomalies can be transformed into special functions that form peaks and ridges over isolated sources. All special functions have a common mathematical form over an isolated source, which leads to a common equation for estimating the source depth from the peak value and the curvature at the peak. Model-specific special functions, usually calculated from a transformed version of a potential field, are used to estimate the locations of very specific source types. Model-independent special functions calculated from an observed or transformed potential field can be used to estimate the locations of a variety of source types. Vertical integration is a particularly useful transformation for reducing the effects of noise and increasing the coherency of solutions from model-independent special functions. For gridded data, the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the curvature matrix associated with a quadratic surface that is fitted to a special function within 3 × 3 windows can be used to locate the sources and estimate their depths and strikes. Discrete source locations estimated in this manner can be connected into lines that follow contacts, faults, and other mappable features based on distance and azimuth criteria. These concepts are demonstrated on aeromagnetic data from the Albuquerque basin of New Mexico, USA.

Publication Year 2007
Title The use of curvature in potential-field interpretation
DOI 10.1071/EG07014
Authors Jeffrey Phillips, R. O. Hansen, Richard J. Blakely
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Exploration Geophysics
Index ID 70207859
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center