Publication 34

A Comparison of Techniques for Magnetotelluric Response Function Estimation

Jones, A.G., Chave, A.D., Auld, D., Bahr, K. and Egbert, G.


Spectral analysis of the time-varying horizontal magnetic and electric field components yields the magnetotelluric (MT) impedance tensor. This frequency dependent 2x2 complex tensor can be examined for details which are diagnostic of the electrical conductivity distribution in the earth within the relevant (frequency dependent) inductive scale length of the surface observation point. As such, precise and accurate determination of this tensor from the electromagnetic time series is fundamental to successful interpretation of the derived responses. In this paper, several analysis techniques are applied to the same data set from one of the EMSLAB Lincoln Line sites. Two subsets of the complete data set were selected, on the basis of geomagnetic activity, to test the methods in the presence of differing signal-to-noise ratios for varying signals and noises. Illustrated by this comparison are the effects of both statistical and bias errors on the estimates from the diverse methods. It is concluded that robust processing methods should become adopted for the analysis of MT data, and that whenever possible remote reference fields should be used to avoid bias due to uncorrelated noise contributions.


J. Geophys. Res., 94, 14,201-14,213, 1989.

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Alan G Jones / 10 June 2004 /