We present a 3D inversion methodology for multisource time-domain electromagnetic data. The forward model consists of Maxwell’s equations in time where the permeability is fixed but electrical conductivity can be highly discontinuous. The goal of the inversion is to recover the conductivity-given measurements of the electric and/or magnetic fields. The availability of matrix-factorization software and high-performance computing has allowed us to solve the 3D time domain EM problem using direct solvers. This is particularly advantageous when data from many transmitters and over many decades are available. We first formulate Maxwell’s equations in terms of the magnetic field, H. The problem is then discretized using a finite volume technique in space and backward Euler in time. The forward operator is symmetric positive definite and a Cholesky decomposition can be performed with the work distributed over an array of processors. The forward modeling is quickly carried out using the factored operator. Time savings are considerable and they make 3D inversion of large ground or airborne data sets feasible. This is illustrated by using synthetic examples and by inverting a multisource UTEM field data set acquired at San Nicolás, which is a massive sulfide deposit in Mexico.

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