Helicopter EM resistivity mapping began to be accepted as a means of geologic mapping in the late 1970s. The data were first displayed as plan maps and images. Some 10 years later, sectional resistivity displays became available using the same “pseudolayer” half-space resistivity algorithm developed by Fraser and the new centroid depth algorithm developed by Sengpiel. Known as Sengpiel resistivity sections, these resistivity/depth images proved to be popular for the display of helicopter electromagnetic (EM) data in conductive environments.

A limitation of the above resistivity and depth algorithms is that the resulting Sengpiel section may imply that the depth of exploration of the EM system is substantially less than is actually the case. For example, a target at depth may be expressed in the raw data, but its appearance on the Sengpiel section may be too shallow (which is a problem with the depth algorithm), or it may not even appear at all (which is a problem with the resistivity algorithm).

An algorithm has been adapted from a ground EM analytic method that yields a parameter called the differential resistivity, which is plotted at the differential depth. The technique yields the true resistivity when the half-space is homogeneous. It also tracks a dipping target with greater sensitivity and to greater depth than does the Sengpiel display method. The input parameters are the apparent resistivity and apparent depth from the pseudolayer half-space algorithm and the skin depth for the various frequencies. The output parameters are differential resistivity and differential depth, which are computed from pairs of adjacent frequencies.

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