Robust 1D inversion of large towed geo-electric array datasets used for hydrogeological studies

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Journal Article
Exploration Geophysics, 2007, 38 (1), pp. 50 - 59
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The advent of towed geo-electrical array surveying on water and land has resulted in datasets of magnitude approaching that of airborne electromagnetic surveying and most suited to 1D inversion. Robustness and complete automation is essential if processing and reliable interpretation of such data is to be viable. Sharp boundaries such as river beds and the top of saline aquifers must be resolved so use of smoothness constraints must be minimised. Suitable inversion algorithms must intelligently handle low signal-to-noise ratio data if conductive basement, that attenuates signal, is not to be misrepresented. A noise-level aware inversion algorithm that operates with one elastic thickness layer per electrode configuration has been coded. The noise-level aware inversion identifies if conductive basement has attenuated signal levels so that they are below noise level, and models conductive basement where appropriate. Layers in the initial models are distributed to span the effective depths of each of the geo-electric array quadrupoles. The algorithm works optimally on data collected using geo-electric arrays with an approximately exponential distribution of quadrupole effective depths. Inversion of data from arrays with linear electrodes, used to reduce contact resistance, and capacitive-line antennae is plausible. This paper demonstrates the effectiveness of the algorithm using theoretical examples and an example from a salt interception scheme on the Murray River, Australia. © 2007, CSIRO. All rights reserved.
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