Resistivity inversion in 2-D anisotropic media: Numerical experiments

Timothy Wiese, Stewart Greenhalgh, Bing Zhou, Mark Greenhalgh, Laurent Marescot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Many rocks and layered/fractured sequences have a clearly expressed electrical anisotropy although it is rare in practice to incorporate anisotropy into resistivity inversion. In this contribution, we present a series of 2.5-D synthetic inversion experiments for various electrode configurations and 2-D anisotropic models. We examine and compare the image reconstructions obtained using the correct anisotropic inversion code with those obtained using the false but widely used isotropic assumption. Superior reconstruction in terms of reduced data misfit, true anomaly shape and position, and anisotropic background parameters were obtained when the correct anisotropic assumptionwas employed for medium to high coefficients of anisotropy. However, for low coefficient values the isotropic assumption produced better-quality results. When an erroneous isotropic inversion is performed on medium to high level anisotropic data, the images are dominated by patterns of banded artefacts and high data misfits. Various pole- pole, pole-dipole and dipole-dipole data sets were investigated and evaluated for the accuracy of the inversion result. The eigenvalue spectra of the pseudo-Hessian matrix and the formal resolution matrix were also computed to determine the information content and goodness of the results. We also present a data selection strategy based on high sensitivity measurements which drastically reduces the number of data to be inverted but still produces comparable results to that of the comprehensive data set. Inversion was carried out using transversely isotropic model parameters described in two different co-ordinate frames for the conductivity tensor, namely Cartesian versus natural or eigenframe. The Cartesian frame provided a more stable inversion product. This can be simply explained from inspection of the eigenspectra of the pseudo-Hessian matrix for the two model descriptions.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)247-266
Number of pages20
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Jan 2015


  • Electrical properties
  • Electromagnetic theory
  • Inverse theory


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