Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 13, Issue 4–5, pp 341–379 | Cite as

Corrections for near surface effects: Decomposition of the magnetotelluric impedance tensor and scaling corrections for regional resistivities: A tutorial

  • Ross W. Groom
  • Karsten Bahr


This paper primarily examines the effects of small-scale or near-surface conductivity inhomogeneities on the magnetotelluric (MT) impedance tensor. These effects cause three different types of distortion results. (1) The well-knownstatic shifts of sounding curves. (2) When the underlying regional setting is two-dimensional then the two regional impedances are mixed in an arbitrary coordinate system. Thus the level and shape of each sounding curve is distorted as are the phases. (3) At sufficiently high frequencies these effects generate anomalous magnetic fields that in turn alter the background phases.

This tutorial first explores the usefulness of various MT tensor analysis techniques to overcome the problem of phase mixing and to recover regional information in the presence of local geological noise. Synthetic and experimental data are considered. A sequence ofa priori models of increasing complexity are described. The use of appropriate decompositions of the MT tensor each with an increasing number of parameters is emphasised. In a second part, phase mixing and static shifts are examined from a synoptic view. Some static shift removal techniques that can be used in conjunction with the decomposition are discussed. This paper is not a review but rather an investigation of a few methods that the authors have found useful with field data.


Field Data Surface Effect Regional Information Regional Setting Static Shift 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross W. Groom
    • 1
  • Karsten Bahr
    • 2
  1. 1.Geological Survey of CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Institut fur Meteorologie und GeophysikFrankfurt am MainGermany

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