Abstract

Airborne electromagnetic mapping by wavetilt measurement is especially suitable for highly resistive strata like the permafrost terrains of northern Canada. A theoretical study has been made on the influence of the altitude of the aircraft and displacement currents on the measured wave tilt values over a range of frequency from VLF (very low frequency) to BCB (broadcast band).A computer modeling study has shown that the effects of displacement currents cannot be ignored over resistive ground if the frequency is greater than 100 kHz. The altitude effect is significant beyond 20 m for medium frequencies and resistive ground. The phase of the wavetilt is almost always more sensitive to these factors than the amplitude. When the top layer is thicker than three skin depths in that layer, the effects of lower layers on the wavetilt is negligible. It is also apparent that before attempting to interpret wavetilt data over a layered medium, one should carefully determine the nature of the source field.The results are readily applied to the Barringer E-phase System, an airborne EM technique which measures the quadrature part of the wavetilt at three frequencies from VLF to BCB range. If the effects of altitude and displacement currents are ignored, the calculated apparent resistivities from E-phase data will be much less than the true resistivities, even for moderately resistive ground. A graphical technique is presented for correctly estimating the resistivity values from two-frequency E-phase measurements when the electrical constants are not frequency dependent.

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