Harrat Rahat, an extensive plateau of Cenozoic mafic lava on the Precambrian shield of western Saudi Arabia, has been studied for its water resource and geothermal potential. In support of these investigations, the thickness of the lava sequence at more than 300 points was estimated by spectral analysis of low-level aeromagnetic profiles utilizing the integral Fourier transform of field intensity along overlapping profile segments. The optimum length of segment for analysis was determined to be about 40 km or 600 field samples. Contributions from two discrete magnetic source ensembles could be resolved on almost all spectra computed. The depths to these ensembles correspond closely to the flight height (300 m), and, presumably, to the mean depth to basement near the center of each profile segment. The latter association was confirmed in all three cases where spectral estimates could be directly compared with basement depths measured in drill holes.
The maximum thickness estimated for the lava section is 380 m and the mean about 150 m. Data from an isopach map prepared from these results suggest that thickness variations are strongly influenced by pre-harrat, north-northwest-trending topography probably consequent on Cenozoic faulting. The thickest zones show a rough correlation with three axially-disposed volcanic shields.