University Of Tasmania

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Airborne electromagnetic footprints in 1D earths

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 18:56 authored by Reid, JE, Pfaffling, A, Vrbancich, J
Existing estimates of footprint size for airborne electromagnetic (AEM) systems have been based largely on the inductive limit of the response. We present calculations of frequency-domain, AEM-footprint sizes in infinite-horizontal, thin-sheet, and half-space models for the case of finite frequency and conductivity. In a half-space the original definition of the footprint is extended to be the side length of the cube with its top centered below the transmitter that contains the induced currents responsible for 90% of the secondary field measured at the receiver. For a horizontal, coplanar helicopter frequency-domain system, the in-phase footprint for induction numbers less than 0.4 (thin sheet) or less than 0.6 (half-space) increases from around 3.7 times the flight height at the inductive limit to more than 10 times the flight height. For a vertical-coaxial system the half-space footprint exceeds nine times the flight height for induction numbers less than 0.09. For all models, geometries, and frequencies, the quadrature footprint is approximately half to two-thirds that of the in-phase footprint. These footprint estimates are supported by 3D model calculations that suggest resistive targets must be separated by the footprint dimension for their individual anomalies to be resolved completely. Analysis of frequency-domain AEM field data acquired for antarctic sea-ice thickness measurements supports the existence of a smaller footprint for the quadrature component in comparison with the in-phase, but the effect is relatively weak. In-phase and quadrature footprints estimated by comparing AEM to drillhole data are considerably smaller than footprints from 1D and 3D calculations. However, we consider the footprints estimated directly from field data unreliable since they are based on a drillhole data set that did not adequately define the true, 3D, sea-ice thickness distribution around the AEM flight line. © 2006 Society of Exploration Geophysicists. All rights reserved.


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School of Natural Sciences


Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Place of publication

Tulsa, OK, USA

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences

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