Abstract

It is shown that contrary to what is stated and implied in much of the literature, gravity data cannot, of themselves, be interpreted uniquely. It is shown by means of a two-dimensional example that for a given anomaly and a given density contrast a wide range of possible interpretations can be made, at various depths, and that whereas there is a maximum depth for the solution the minimum depth is zero. Other examples are given to show that depth rules based upon the assumption of geometrical shapes may give results very much in error when applied to actual anomalies. Nor does the method of interpretation by vertical gradients allow us to make an unique interpretation, or to distinguish deep from shallow anomalies as has been claimed. It is shown that we do not escape the ambiguity by using second derivative quantities such as gradient and curvature, and that, in fact, gravity and its derivatives are related by a corollary of Green's theorem. This theorem provides an analytical proof of ambiguity not only for the case of gravity data but for magnetic data as well.

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