Unique geologic insights from "non-unique" gravity and magnetic interpretation

GSA Today
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Abstract

Interpretation of gravity and magnetic anomalies is mathematically non-unique because multiple theoretical solutions are always possible. The rigorous mathematical label of "nonuniqueness" can lead to the erroneous impression that no single interpretation is better in a geologic sense than any other. The purpose of this article is to present a practical perspective on the theoretical non-uniqueness of potential-field interpretation in geology. There are multiple ways to approach and constrain potential-field studies to produce significant, robust, and definitive results. The "non-uniqueness" of potential-field studies is closely related to the more general topic of scientific uncertainty in the Earth sciences and beyond. Nearly all results in the Earth sciences are subject to significant uncertainty because problems are generally addressed with incomplete and imprecise data. The increasing need to combine results from multiple disciplines into integrated solutions in order to address complex global issues requires special attention to the appreciation and communication of uncertainty in geologic interpretation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Unique geologic insights from "non-unique" gravity and magnetic interpretation
Series title GSA Today
DOI 10.1130/G136A.1
Volume 21
Issue 12
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title GSA Today
First page 4
Last page 11