Publications

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2012
Ribaudo, JT, Constable CG, Parker RL.  2012.  Scripted finite element tools for global electromagnetic induction studies. Geophysical Journal International. 188:435-446.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05255.x   AbstractWebsite

Numerical solution of global geomagnetic induction problems in two and three spatial dimensions can be conducted with commercially available, general-purpose, scripted, finite-element software. We show that FlexPDE is capable of solving a variety of global geomagnetic induction problems. The models treated can include arbitrary electrical conductivity of the core and mantle, arbitrary spatial structure and time behaviour of the primary magnetic field. A thin surface layer of laterally heterogeneous conductivity, representing the oceans and crust, may be represented by a boundary condition at the Earthspace interface. We describe a numerical test, or validation, of the program by comparing its output to analytic and semi-analytic solutions for several electromagnetic induction problems: (1) concentric spherical shells representing a layered Earth in a time-varying, uniform, external magnetic field, (2) eccentrically nested conductive spheres in the same field and (3) homogeneous spheres or cylinders, initially at rest, then rotating at a steady rate in a constant, uniform, external field. Calculations are performed in both the time and frequency domains, and in both 2-D and 3-D computational meshes, with adaptive mesh refinement. Root-mean-square accuracies of better than 1 per cent are achieved in all cases. A unique advantage of our technique is the ability to model Earth rotation in both the time and the frequency domain, which is especially useful for simulating satellite data.

2011
Parker, RL.  2011.  New analytic solutions for the 2-D TE mode MT problem. Geophysical Journal International. 186:980-986.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05091.x   AbstractWebsite

A closed-form solution is given for a 2-D, transverse electric mode, magnetotelluric (MT) problem. The model system consists of a finite vertical thin conductor with variable integrated conductivity over a perfectly conducting base. A notable property of the solution is that the frequency response possesses a single pole in the complex plane. Systems with finitely many resonances play a central role in the 1-D MT inverse problem based on finite data sets, but until now, no 2-D system of this kind was known. The particular model is shown to be just one of a large class of thin conductors with same the property, and further examples are given. The solutions of the induction problem for members of this family can often be written in compact closed form, making them the simplest known solutions to the 2-D MT problem.

Van Beusekom, AE, Parker RL, Bank RE, Gill PE, Constable S.  2011.  The 2-D magnetotelluric inverse problem solved with optimization. Geophysical Journal International. 184:639-650.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04895.x   AbstractWebsite

P>The practical 2-D magnetotelluric inverse problem seeks to determine the shallow-Earth conductivity structure using finite and uncertain data collected on the ground surface. We present an approach based on using PLTMG (Piecewise Linear Triangular MultiGrid), a special-purpose code for optimization with second-order partial differential equation (PDE) constraints. At each frequency, the electromagnetic field and conductivity are treated as unknowns in an optimization problem in which the data misfit is minimized subject to constraints that include Maxwell's equations and the boundary conditions. Within this framework it is straightforward to accommodate upper and lower bounds or other conditions on the conductivity. In addition, as the underlying inverse problem is ill-posed, constraints may be used to apply various kinds of regularization. We discuss some of the advantages and difficulties associated with using PDE-constrained optimization as the basis for solving large-scale nonlinear geophysical inverse problems. Combined transverse electric and transverse magnetic complex admittances from the COPROD2 data are inverted. First, we invert penalizing size and roughness giving solutions that are similar to those found previously. In a second example, conventional regularization is replaced by a technique that imposes upper and lower bounds on the model. In both examples the data misfit is better than that obtained previously, without any increase in model complexity.

2010
Parker, RL.  2010.  Can a 2-D MT frequency response always be interpreted as a 1-D response? Geophysical Journal International. 181:269-274.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04512.x   AbstractWebsite

Weidelt and Kaikkonen showed that in the transverse magnetic (TM) mode of magnetotellurics it is not always possible to match exactly the 2-D response at a single site with a 1-D model, although a good approximation usually seems possible. We give a new elementary example of this failure. We show for the first time that the transverse electric (TE) mode responses can also be impossible to match with a 1-D response, and that the deviations can be very large.

2007
Medin, AE, Parker RL, Constable S.  2007.  Making sound inferences from geomagnetic sounding. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 160:51-59.   10.1016/j.pepi.2006.09.001   AbstractWebsite

We examine the nonlinear inverse problem of electromagnetic induction to recover electrical conductivity. As this is an ill-posed problem based on inaccurate data, there is a critical need to find the reliable features of the models of electrical conductivity. We present a method for obtaining bounds on Earth's average conductivity that all conductivity profiles must obey. Our method is based completely on optimization theory for an all-at-once approach to inverting frequency-domain electromagnetic data. The forward modeling equations are constraints in an optimization problem solving for the electric fields and the conductivity simultaneously. There is no regularization required to solve the problem. The computational framework easily allows additional inequality constraints to be imposed, allowing us to further narrow the bounds. We draw conclusions from a global geomagnetic depth sounding data set and compare with laboratory results, inferring temperature and water content through published Boltzmann-Arrhenius conductivity models. If the upper mantle is assumed to be volatile free we find it has an average temperature of 1409-1539 degrees C. For the top 1000 km of the lower mantle, we find an average temperature of 1849-2008 degrees C. These are in agreement with generally accepted mantle temperatures. Our conclusions about water content of the transition zone disagree with previous research. With our bounds on conductivity, we calculate a transition zone consisting entirely of Wadsleyite has < 0.27 wt.% water and as we add in a fraction of Ringwoodite, the upper bound on water content decreases proportionally. This water content is less than the 0.4 wt.% water required for melt or pooling at the 410 km seismic discontinuity. Published by Elsevier B.V.