Airborne EM footprints

Beamish, David. 2003 Airborne EM footprints. Geophysical Prospecting, 51 (1). 49-60.

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As frequency-domain airborne electromagnetic (AEM) studies move towards more detailed assessments of the near-surface, the behaviour of system footprints, and hence the spatial averages involved in the measurement, becomes important. Published estimates suffer from two main limitations: first, they are based on perfectly conducting, thin sheet models and, secondly, they are system specific. The present study is a revision of footprint estimates based on (i) a finitely conducting half-space and (ii) an at-surface scale estimate that uses the spatial equivalent of the conventional electromagnetic skin depth. In order to remove the system dependence, a transmitter footprint is defined in terms of electromagnetic skin distance. Only the limiting cases of vertical and horizontal magnetic dipole sources then require analysis. Electromagnetic skin distances, two for each of the coil orientations, are defined. The revised definition makes it possible to investigate the footprint behaviour of both towed-bird and fixed-wing AEM systems over an altitude range from 20 to 100 m. The footprint/altitude ratio has a primary dependence on altitude and a secondary dependence on both resistivity and frequency. The analysis covers a frequency range from 1 to 100 kHz and results are presented for two specific resistivity values that represent conductive (10 Ωm) and resistive (1000 Ωm) environments. The revised footprint parameters display a quasi-linear behaviour with altitude, particularly for mid-range frequencies. This behaviour enables the coefficients of linear, least-squares relationships to be obtained, thus assisting with the prediction of footprint estimates for survey planning and interpretation. A comparison of the new estimates with published values suggests that existing footprint values for a vertical magnetic dipole should be revised downward.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > National Geoscience Framework
ISSN: 0016-8025
Additional Keywords: Electromagnetic, airborne, frequency domain, modelling
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 22 Apr 2015 14:44 +0 (UTC)

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