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Vertical Resolution of Two-Dimensional Dipole-Dipole ResistivityInversion


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SatyendraNarayan, Univ. of Waterloo,Canada

described a comparative study of several methods of 2-D

4 practicaltwo-dimensional(2-D) algorithmfor invertingdipolelipole resistivitydata has been developedand applied to various
syntheticand field data (Narayan, 1990). The theoreticalbasisof
nverseformulationis basedon adjoint solution and reciprocity.
3e has shown that the algorithm is stable and capable of
ielineating multiple conductorsembedded in a homogeneous
lalfspace. In this paper an attempt is made to study vertical
.esolutionof the dipole-dipolesurfaceresistivitymethodon a 2-D
:onductivebody embeddedin a homogeneoushalfspace.This is
by inverting syntheticdataover a setof 2-D models.
I%e results obtained from this study are discussedherein. This
;hows that a conductivebody at a certain depth relative to its
lengthwill not producea resolvableresponsein the dipole-dipole
surfaceresistivity method.
Until recently, direct interpretation of resistivity data using
inversion methods was common only for horizontally layered
stmctures.However, layeredmodelsare inadequatein applications
suchasmineralexploration;studyof dikes,valleys,contactzones,
and geothermalfields; monitoring of steam, water or chemical
flooding for enhanced oil recovery; mapping of groundwater
contamination; and monitoring of in-situ mining methods.
Numerical modelling techniquesfor surface electrode arrays as
well as for subsurfaceelectrode(s)have been extensivelyusedon
a trial-and-errorbasisto interpretresistivitydatain termsof twodimensional(2-D) andthreedimensional(3-D) geologicstructures.
Trial-and-errormodelling (i.e. optimizationof a model basedon
a forward solution)for interpretingresistivityfield data is rather
difficult and timeconsuming.At the sametime forwardmodelling
doesnot yield informationon resolution.

The problem of 2-D resistivity inversion has been studied by

various investigators. Pelton et al. (1978) developed an
inexpensivecomputeralgorithmfor the inversionof 2-D resistivity
and induced polarization(IP) data. This method involves spline
interpolationof the storedresponsesfor a rangeof modelsin order
to match the field data. This algorithm is not well suited to
complex cases, because interpolation of model response is
extremely difficult. Smith and Vozoff (1984) and Tripp et al.
(1984) proposed a 2-D resistivity inversion using a finite
difference technique, and transmission surface analogy with
Cohns sensitivitytheorem,respectively.Their schemeswere quite
similar and suitable for complex 2-D models. They did not
incorporatethe effects of topographicfeatureson resistivitydata
in their inversion scheme.Tong and Yang (1990) developedan
algorithm for the 2-D resistivity inversion where topographyis
consideredin the model, Thus, it allows inversion of resistivity
data obtainedfrom a rough terrain directly without applying any
externalcorrectionsin advance.McGillivray andOldenburg(1990)

A 3-D resistivityinversionapproachusingalphacentershas been

reportedby Peaick et al. (1979). In this method, the forward
solutionis accomplishedby the alphacentersmethod,and a 3-D
inverseis algorithmdevelopedusingthe ridge regressionmethod.
This algorithm requires less than 15COOwords of computer
memoryand can bc used on small computers.This alpha centers
method without modification (as proposed by Shima, 1990),
however, is not valid for a complex conductivity distribution.
Thus, the method is useful for field data interpretationto guide
drilling site choice and to obtain a good initial guessfor more
sophisticatedand costly inversion schemes.Recently, Park and
Van (1991) developed an inverse algorithm to invert pole-pole
resistivitydata over 3-D resistivity structureusing an approach
very similar to that of Narayan (1990). However, they were able
to map lateralresistivityvariationmore accuratelythanthe vertical
None of these investigationsdescribesvertical resolutionof the
inversealgorithm.The objective of this paperis to studyvertical
resolutionof a 2-D inverse algorithm i.e. at what depth a 2-D
conductiveheterogeneityrelative to its length will not producea
resolvable response in the dipole-dipole surface resistivity
The mostcommonapproachin solvingresistivityinverseproblems
is to linearize the problem and then perform a least squares
minimizationon a systemof linear equationsto solve for changes
in resistivity.It is very well describedby many workersand their
namesare mentionedin the previoussection.I have developeda
practical2-D algorithm which is basedon adjoint solution and
reciprocity.This approachis similarto thatof MaddenandMackie
(1989). The detail of this inverseformulation,matrix formulation,
leastsquaresoptimization,and resolutionof model parametersare
describedin Narayan (1990). The methodof inverseformulation
is entirely different from those that have been used so far in the
resistivityinverse problems.This inversealgorithmis also tested
on numeroussyntheticmodelsas well as on field data (Narayan,
The advantagesof this approachare that it gives an efficient way
of calculatingthe partial derivativesof data with respectto the
model parametersas it involves linearized form of non-linear
problem, and the sensitivity of surface measurementsare
proportionalto the power dissipatedin the anomalouszone.
The inverse algorithm has been thoroughlytested with several
models.The theoreticaldata computedby the forward modelling
(Madden, 1971) over the realistic-geologicfeaturesand field data


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Vertical resolution of 2-D resistivity inversion

have beeninvertedby this algorithm(Narayan, 1990).This shows

that the algorithmis stableeven for poor initial guessand capable
of resolving multiple conductorsembeddedin the homogeneous

measurementstar delmeahngresistive zones within the crust, II

the structure and physical properties of the earth crust: J.G
Heacock, Ed., Am. Geophys. Union, Geophys. Monogr., 14

Herein, vertical resolutionof 2-D inversealgorithm studiedon a

conductiveheterogeneityembeddedin a homogeneoushalfspace
is only described.This is accomplishedby generatingsynthetic
data for the dipole-dipole surface resistivity method using a
forwardalgorithm(Madden, 1971) over a 2-D conductivebody of
a given dimension(3 dipole units length and 1 dipole unit width)
and given resistivity contrastembeddedin the resistivehostrock
at various depths (i unit, 2 units, 3 units, and 5 units), and
inverting theses data by a 2-D inverse algorithm. The result
obtainedis discussedbelow.

McCillivray, P.R., and Oldenburg, D.W., 1990, Methods fol

calculatingFrechetderivativesand sensitivitiesfor the non-lineo
inversion problem: A comparative study: Geophys. Prose.. 38
Narayan, S., 1990, Two-dimensionalresistivity inversion:M.Sc
Thesis,University of California, Riverside,California.
Park, S.K., and Van, G.P., 1991, Inversionof pole-poledatafor 3.
D resistivity structurebeneatharrays of electrodes:Geophysics
56,95 l-960.

Figures 1,2, 3, and 4 show the computedsyntheticdata over a 10

ohm-m conductive body embeddedin a 100 ohm-m halfspace Pelton,W.H., Rijo, L., and Swift, C.M.Jr., 1978, Inversionof twc
situatedat 1 unit, 2 units, 3 units, and 5 units depthrespectively. dimensionalresistivityand inducedpolarizationdata:Geophysics,
Thesedataare invertedwith a initial guessconsistingof 100 ohmm five different blocksin a fixed 100 ohm-m host rock (Figures
5, 6, 7, and 8). The top and bottom of the conductive body Petrick,W.R. Jr., Sill, W.R., Ward, S.H., 1979,Three-dimensional
situatedat 1 unit depth are very well resolved(Figure 5). For this resistivityinversionusingalphacenters:Universityof Utah, Dept.
model, RMS error was 50% at the beginning and dropped to of Geology and Geophysics,Report no. DE-AC07-79ET/27002.
0.25% in 30 iterations.When the conductivebody is at 2 units
Shima,H., 1990, Two-dimensionalautomaticresistivityinversion
depth,only the top of conductivebody is resolvedwell (Figure 6).
If the conductiveheterogeneityis located at 3 and 5 units depth, techniqueusing alpha centers:Geophysics,55, 682-684.
it is not at all resolvable(Figures7 and 8). Therefore,a conductor
Smith, NC., and Vozoff, K., 1984, Two dimensional DC
of 3 units length and 1 unit thickness will not produce a
measurableresponseat the earths surfaceif it is situatedat depth resistivity inversion for dipole- dipole data: Inst. of Elect and
of 3 units or greater. It is also obvious from the computed Electron. Engineers,Tran. Geoscienceand Remote Sensing,22,
syntheticdata for a 10 ohm-m conductivebody embeddedin a
100 ohm-m halfspaceat the depth of 3 units and 5 units that the
data do not contain enough information to resolve the body at Tong, L.T., and Yang, C.H., 1990, Incorporationof topography
depth.A changeof about20% and 10% in the resistivitydata for into two-dimensionalresistivity inversion:Geophysics,55, 3542-D conductivebody locatedat 3 units and 5 unitsrespectivelyis 361.
not adequateto invert them in terms of 2-D structure.Thus, the
investigationproves that surfaceresistivity methodsare suitable Tripp, AC., Hohmann, G.W., and Swift, C.M., 1984, Two.
only for shallow geologicproblems(within a depth range of less dimensionalresistivity inversion:Geophysics,49, 708-1717.
than2 dipole unitslengths)and it doesnot give a betterresolution
for deeperstructures.
The resolvingpower of 2-D resistivityinversealgorithmbasedon
adjoint solution and reciprocity is studied for the dipole-dipole
surfaceresistivity method using various syntheticmodels.These
resultsindicate that a conductivebody (3x1 units) with a given
resistivity contrast (1:lO) located a depth three units or greater
does not producea resolvableresponsein the surfaceresistivity
measurements.The information derived from this study may be
useful in the design of field experimentsand mapping of 2-D
Madden, T.R., and Mackie, R.L., 1989, Three dimensional
magnetotelluricmodellingandinversion:Proc.IEEE, 77,318-333.
Madden, T.R., 1971, The resolving power of geoelectric









XC. 1. Crosssectionof 2-D resistivitymodel (top) and synthetic

.esistivitypseudosectionover the model (bottom).

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Vertical resolution of 2-D resistivity inversion









?IG. 2. Crosssectionof 2-D resistivitymodel(top)andsynthetic FIG. 4. Crosssectionof 2-D resistivitymodel(top)and synthetic

over themodel(bottom).
overthe model(bottom).


FIG. 3. Crosssectionof 2-D resistivitymodel(top)andsynthetic

FIG. 5. Inversionof syntheticresistivitydatashownin Figure1.
over the model(bottom).
The resistivityparameterobtainedafterinversionis indicatedin
Resistivityout sidetheparenthesis
is thestarting
Symbolf is usedto fix theresistivityparameter


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Vertical resolution of 2-D resistivity inversion

FIG. 6. Inversionof syntheticresistivity data shownin Figure 2.

The resistivity parameterobtained after inversionis indicatedin
the parenthesis.Resistivity out side the parenthesisis the starting
model parameter.Symbol f is usedto fix the resistivityparameter

FIG. 7. Inversion of syntheticresistivity data shownin Figure 3.

The resistivity parameterobtainedafter inversionis indicatedin
the parenthesis.Resistivityout side the parenthesisis the starting
model parameter.Symbol f is usedto fix the resistivityparameter


FIG. 8. Inversionof syntheticresistivity data shownin Figure 4.

The resistivity parameterobtainedafter inversionis indicatedin
the parenthesis.Resistivityout side the parenthesisis the starting
model parameter.Symbol f is usedto fix the resistivityparameter