In marine time-domain controlled-source electromagnetics (CSEM), there are two different acquisition methods: with horizontal sources for fast and simple data acquisition or with vertical sources for minimizing the effects of the airwave. Illustrations of the electric field as a function of space and time for various source antenna orientations, based on analytical formulation of the electric field in two half-spaces, provide insights into the properties of the airwave and the nature of diffuse electric fields. Observing the development of the electric field over time and space reveals that diffusive fields exhibit directionality. Therefore, techniques that have thus far mostly been applied to wavefields can be adapted for CSEM. Examples range from the well-known up-down decomposition to beam steering. Vertical sources have the advantage of not creating an airwave. On the other hand, it is quite difficult to achieve perfect verticality of the source antenna. Results, using a numerically modeled data set to analyze the impact of the airwave on a signal from a subsurface reservoir in the case of a slightly dipping vertical source, indicate that already for a dip of 0.05°, the airwave contributes 20% to the complete electric field in our configuration of reservoir depth, water thickness, and conductivity values.

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