ABSTRACT

We apply a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo formalism to the gravity inversion of a single localized 2D subsurface object. The object is modeled as a polygon described by five parameters: the number of vertices, a density contrast, a shape-limiting factor, and the width and depth of an encompassing container. We first constrain these parameters with an interactive forward model and explicit geologic information. Then, we generate an approximate probability distribution of polygons for a given set of parameter values. From these, we determine statistical distributions such as the variance between the observed and model fields, the area, the center of area, and the occupancy probability (the probability that a spatial point lies within the subsurface object). We introduce replica exchange to mitigate trapping in local optima and to compute model probabilities and their uncertainties. We apply our techniques to synthetic data sets and a natural data set collected across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge in New Mexico. On the basis of our examples, we find that the occupancy probability is useful in visualizing the results, giving a “hazy” cross section of the object. We also find that the role of the container is important in making predictions about the subsurface object.

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