Research Note: Compact Depth from Extreme Points: a tool for fast potential field imaging

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We propose a fast method for imaging potential field sources. The new method is a variant of the “Depth from Extreme Points,” which yields an image of a quantity proportional to the source distribution (magnetization or density). Such transformed field is here transformed into source-density units by determining a constant with adequate physical dimension by a linear regression of the observed field versus the field computed from the “Depth from Extreme Points” image. Such source images are often smooth and too extended, reflecting the loss of spatial resolution for increasing altitudes. Consequently, they also present too low values of the source density. We here show that this initial image can be improved and made more compact to achieve a more realistic model, which reproduces a field consistent with the observed one. The new algorithm, which is called “Compact Depth from Extreme Points” iteratively produces different source distributions models, with an increasing degree of compactness and, correspondingly, increasing source-density values. This is done through weighting the model with a compacting function. The compacting function may be conveniently expressed as a matrix that is modified at any iteration, based on the model obtained in the previous step. At any iteration step the process may be stopped when the density reaches values higher than prefixed bounds based on known or assumed geological information. As no matrix inversion is needed, the method is fast and allows analysing massive datasets. Due to the high stability of the “Depth from Extreme Points” transformation, the algorithm may be also applied to any derivatives of the measured field, thus yielding an improved resolution. The method is investigated by application to 2D and 3D synthetic gravity source distributions, and the imaged sources are a good reconstruction of the geometry and density distributions of the causative bodies. Finally, the method is applied to microgravity data to model underground crypts in St. Venceslas Church, Tovacov, Czech Republic.

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