Abstract

Distant lightning activity, the natural energy source for the audio-magnetotelluric (AMT) method, has a signal minimum between 1 and 5 kHz, the so-called AMT dead band. The energy in this band exhibits both diurnal and annual variation; magnetic-field amplitudes during the daytime are often well below the noise levels of existing sensors (coil magnetometers), thus reducing the effectiveness of the method for quantitative high-resolution studies of near-surface targets. To overcome this deficiency, we propose a hybrid acquisition and processing methodology based on combining the telluric-telluric (T-T) and telluric-magnetotelluric (T-MT) methods in this frequency range. Our method records the telluric channels at several sites and at base and remote reference stations during the day and records the full magnetotelluric (MT) components at the base and remote stations only during the night. Applying a tensor multiplicative relationship between these responses, we obtain the T-MT AMT transfer functions for the sites; these transfer functions can represent a reasonable approximation of the real AMT impedance tensors. To test the approach, a T-MT experiment was carried out in Sudbury, northern Ontario, during summer 2000. We compare the processed daytime data using the conventional MT approach to those obtained from our T-MT approach. The results demonstrate that our method can determine high-quality estimates in the dead band, although the estimates can be severely affected by noise.

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