Abstract

For the purpose of shallow-earth geophysical mapping, progressively higher frequencies have been developed for helicopter electromagnetic (HEM) systems. However, concern has been expressed about the vulnerability of high-frequency EM signals to the influence of the displacement current, especially the phase shift of the HEM signal resulting from the finite speed of light that describes the propagation of the EM wave in free space. In this paper we investigate the influence of the displacement current and the finite speed of light on HEM responses, based on a full solution of the EM field for a conductive, magnetically, and dielectrically polarizable earth half-space and an overlying half-space of air with free-space dielectric permittivity. We calculate the amplitude change and the phase shift of the HEM signal and the change in the apparent resistivity. We find that the displacement current, when both the air and the earth half-space assume the free-space dielectric permittivity, has a small influence on the HEM signal, while substantial influence may occur when the earth is dielectrically polarizable. The finite speed of the EM propagation in free space does not result in significant phase changes in the HEM signal.

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