Detecting a salt dome overhang with magnetotellurics: 3D inversion methodology and synthetic model studies.

Avdeeva, Anna, Avdeev, Dmitry and Jegen, Marion (2012) Detecting a salt dome overhang with magnetotellurics: 3D inversion methodology and synthetic model studies. Open Access Geophysics, 77 (4). E251-E263. DOI 10.1190/geo2011-0167.1.

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Detecting a salt dome overhang is known to be problematic by seismic methods alone. We used magnetotellurics (MT) as a complementary method to seismics to investigate the detectability of a salt dome overhang. A comparison of MT responses for 3D synthetic salt models with and without overhang shows that MT is very sensitive to shallow salt structures and suggests that it should be possible to detect an overhang. To further investigate the resolution capability of MT for a salt dome overhang, we performed a 3D MT inversion study and investigated the impact of model parametrization and regularization. We showed that using the logarithms of the conductivities as model parameters is crucial for inverting data from resistive salt structures because, in this case, commonly used Tikhonov-type stabilizers work more equally for smoothing the resistive and conductive structures. The use of a logarithmic parametrization also accelerated the convergence and produced better inversion results. When the Laplace operator was used as a regularization functional, we still observed that the inversion algorithm allows spatial resistivity gradients. These spatial gradients are reduced if a regularization based on first derivatives in contrast to the Laplace operator is introduced. To demonstrate the favorable performance when logarithmic parametrization and gradient-based regularization are employed, we first inverted a data set simulated for a simple model of two adjacent blocks. Subsequently, we applied the code to a more realistic salt dome overhang detectability study. The results from the detectability study are encouraging and suggest that 3D MT inversion can be applied to decide whether the overhang is present in the shallow salt structure even in the case when only profile data are available. However, to resolve the overhang, a dense MT site coverage above the flanks of the salt dome is required.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: Reuse is subject to SEG terms of use and conditions.
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1190/geo2011-0167.1
ISSN: 0016-8033
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2012 08:43
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2017 06:54

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