Standard polynomial fitting methods are inconsistent in their formulation. The regional field is approximated by a polynomial fitted to the observed field. As a result, in addition to the nonuniqueness in the definition of the regional field, the fitted polynomial is strongly influenced by the residual field (observed field minus regional field). We present a regional-residual separation method for gravity data which uses a robust procedure to determine the coefficients of a polynomial fitted to the observations. Under the hypothesis that the regional can be modeled correctly by the polynomial surface, the proposed method minimizes the influence of the residual field in the fitted surface.The proposed method was applied to real gravity data from Ceara state, Brazil, and produced information on zones of possible crustal thickening and the occurrence of lower-crustal granulitic rocks thrust into the shallow subsurface.

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