Scalar magnetic data are often acquired to discern characteristics of geologic source materials and buried objects. It is evident that a great deal can be done with scalar data, but there are significant advantages to direct measurement of the magnetic gradient tensor in applications with nearby sources, such as unexploded ordnance (UXO). To explore these advantages, we adapted a prototype tensor magnetic gradiometer system (TMGS) and successfully implemented a data-reduction procedure. One of several critical reduction issues is the precise determination of a large group of calibration coefficients for the sensors and sensor array. To resolve these coefficients, we devised a spin calibration method, after similar methods of calibrating space-based magnetometers (Snare, 2001). The spin calibration procedure consists of three parts: (1) collecting data by slowly revolving the sensor array in the Earth?s magnetic field, (2) deriving a comprehensive set of coefficients from the spin data, and (3) applying the coefficients to the survey data. To show that the TMGS functions as a tensor gradiometer, we conducted an experimental survey that verified that the reduction procedure was effective (Bracken and Brown, in press). Therefore, because it was an integral part of the reduction, it can be concluded that the spin calibration was correctly formulated with acceptably small errors.
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Calibrating a tensor magnetic gradiometer using spin data