The vertical gradient of a one-dimensional magnetic field is known to be a useful aid in interpretation of magnetic data. When the vertical gradient is required but has not been measured, it is necessary to approximate the gradient using the available total-field data. An approximation is possible because a relationship between the total field and the vertical gradient can be established using Fourier analysis.

After reviewing the theoretical basis of this relationship, a number of methods for approximating the vertical gradient are derived. These methods fall into two broad categories: methods based on the discrete Fourier transform, and methods based on discrete convolution filters.

There are a number of choices necessary in designing such methods, each of which will affect the accuracy of the computed values in differing, and sometimes conflicting, ways. A comparison of the spatial and spectral accuracy of the methods derived here shows that it is possible to construct a filter which maintains a reasonable balance between the various components of the total error. Further, the structure of this filter is such that it is also computationally more efficient than methods based on fast Fourier transform techniques.

The spacing and width of the convolution filter are identified as the principal factors which influence the accuracy and efficiency of the method presented here, and recommendations are made on suitable choices for these parameters.

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