Abstract

We present a new semiautomatic gravity interpretation method for estimating a complex interface between two media containing density heterogeneities (referred to as interfering sources) that give rise to a complex and interfering gravity field. The method combines a robust fitting procedure and the constraint that the interface is very smooth near the interfering sources, whose approximate horizontal coordinates are defined by the user. The proposed method differs from the regional-residual separation techniques by using no spectral content assumption about the anomaly produced by the interface to be estimated, i.e., the interface can produce a gravity response containing both low- and high-wavenumber features. As a result, it may be applied to map the relief of a complex interface in a geologic setting containing either shallow or deep-seated interfering sources. Tests conducted with synthetic data show that the method can be of utility in estimating the basement relief of a sedimentary basin in the presence of salt layers and domes or in the presence of mafic intrusions in the basement or in both basement and the sedimentary section. The method was applied to real gravity data from two geologic settings having different kinds of interfering sources and interfaces to be interpreted: (1) the interface between the upper and lower crusts over the Bavali shear zone of southern India and (2) the anorthosite-tonalite interface over the East Bull Lake gabbro-anorthosite complex outcrop in Ontario, Canada.

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