2.5-D/3-D resistivity modelling in anisotropic media using Gaussian quadrature grids

Bing Zhou, Mark Greenhalgh, S. A. Greenhalgh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We present a new numerical scheme for 2.5-D/3-D direct current resistivity modelling in heterogeneous, anisotropic media. This method, named the 'Gaussian quadrature grid' (GQG) method, cooperatively combines the solution of the Variational Principle of the partial differential equation, Gaussian quadrature abscissae and local cardinal functions so that it has the main advantages of the spectral element method. The formulation shows that the GQG method is a modification of the spectral element method but does not employ the constant elements or require the mesh generator to match the Earth's surface. This makes it much easier to deal with geological models having a 2-D/3-D complex topography than using traditional numerical methods. The GQG technique can achieve a similar convergence rate to the spectral element method. We show it transforms the 2.5-D/3-D resistivity modelling problem into a sparse and symmetric linear equation system that can be solved by an iterative or matrix inversion method. Comparison with analytic solutions for homogeneous isotropic and anisotropic models shows that the error depends on the Gaussian quadrature order (abscissa number) and the subdomain size. The higher the order or the smaller the subdomain size that is employed, the more accurate are the results obtained. Several other synthetic examples, both homogeneous and inhomogeneous, incorporating sloping, undulating and severe topography, are presented and found to yield results comparable to finite element solutions involving a dense mesh.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)63-80
Number of pages18
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Electrical properties
  • Electromagnetic theory
  • Numerical solutions


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