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Research paper: A global measure for depth of investigation (2012)

Authors: Anders Vest Christiansen and Esben Auken 

Abstract: We tested a new robust concept for the calculation of depth of investigation (DOI) that is valid for any 1D electromagnetic (EM) geophysical model. A good estimate of DOI is crucial when building geologic and hydrological models from EM data sets because the validity of the models varies strongly with data noise and the resistivity of the layers themselves. For diffusive methods, such as ground-based and airborne electromagnetic, it is not possible to define an unambiguous depth below which there is no information on the resistivity structure, and a measure of DOI is, therefore, to what depth the model can be considered reliable. The method we presented is based on the actual model output from the inversion process, and we used the actual system response, contrary to assuming, e.g., planar waves over a homogeneous half-space, the widely used skin depth calculation. Equally important, the data noise and the number of data points are integrated into the calculation. Our methodology is based on a recalculated sensitivity (Jacobian) matrix of the final model, and thus, it can be used on any model type for which a sensitivity matrix can be calculated. Unlike other sensitivity matrix methods, we defined a global and absolute threshold value contrary to defining a relative (such as 5%) sensitivity limit. The threshold value will apply to all 1D inverted data and will thus produce comparable numbers of DOI.

Geophysics, 77(4), 171-177

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