New Techniques for Estimation of Source Parameters : Applications to Airborne Gravity and Pseudo-Gravity Gradient Tensors

Abstract: Gravity gradient tensor (GGT) data contains the second derivatives of the Earth’s gravitational potential in three orthogonal directions. GGT data can be measured either using land, airborne, marine or space platforms. In the last two decades, the applications of GGT data in hydrocarbon exploration, mineral exploration and structural geology have increased considerably. This work focuses on developing new interpretation techniques for GGT data as well as pseudo-gravity gradient tensor (PGGT) derived from measured magnetic field. The applications of developed methods are demonstrated on a GGT data set from the Vredefort impact structure, South Africa and a magnetic data set from the Särna area, west central Sweden. The eigenvectors of the symmetric GGT can be used to estimate the position of the causative body as well as its strike direction. For a given measurement point, the eigenvector corresponding to the maximum eigenvalue points approximately toward the center of mass of the source body. For quasi 2D structures, the strike direction of the source can be estimated from the direction of the eigenvectors corresponding to the smallest eigenvalues. The same properties of GGT are valid for the pseudo-gravity gradient tensor (PGGT) derived from magnetic field data assuming that the magnetization direction is known. The analytic signal concept is applied to GGT data in three dimensions. Three analytic signal functions are introduced along x-, y- and z-directions which are called directional analytic signals. The directional analytic signals are homogenous and satisfy Euler’s homogeneity equation. Euler deconvolution of directional analytic signals can be used to locate causative bodies. The structural index of the gravity field is automatically identified from solving three Euler equations derived from the GGT for a set of data points located within a square window with adjustable size. For 2D causative bodies with geometry striking in the y-direction, the measured gxz and gzz components of GGT can be jointly inverted for estimating the parameters of infinite dike and geological contact models. Once the strike direction of 2D causative body is estimated, the measured components can be transformed into the strike coordinate system. The GGT data within a set of square windows for both infinite dike and geological contact models are deconvolved and the best model is chosen based on the smallest data fit error.