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UPWARD & DOWNWARD CONTINUATION Problem: If the gravity/potential at the surface z=0 is known, what would be the gravity/potential

at some other height z? If there is no anomalous mass between the surface at z=0 and the surface at z, then the potential satisfies Laplaces equation, and the solution can be obtained as follows: Case 1. Surface potential Uo or gravity g at z=0 is a simple harmonic function (i.e. sin(px), ipx cos(px) or e where wave number p=2 / and is the wavelength) then the potential (or gravity) at z is just the surface potential (or gravity) multiplied by the attenuation factor e Example: Here, we will consider the surface potential Uo or gravity g to be independent of y. If Uo( x ) = U ( x , z = 0) = BCos( px ) at z=0, then U( x , z) = BCos( px )e . If g( x , z = 0) = 2 G Cos( px ) where is the surface mass density at z=0, then
pz pz

g( x , z) = 2 G Cos( px )e Since p is the wave number, the attenuation factor can be written in terms of the wavelength e 2 z / . This means that the rate of attenuation depends on the wavelength of the mass anomaly.
Fixed z = 8z = 4z = 2z =z Fixed z = /8 z = /4 z = /2 z= z/ 1/8 1/4 1/2 1 ~1, e 2 z / 0.4559 0.2079 0.0432 0.0019


For large loads (i.e. long wavelength >> z), the factor e 2 z / but for small loads (with << z), the factor e 2 z / ~ 0.

Thus, the signals due to small loads buried at great depth cannot be detected at the surface, but large loads buried at the same depth can be detected. In other words, the origin of short wavelength signals must be at shallow depth, but long wavelength signals can have both deep and shallow source depths (However, large shallow masses need to be supported by the strength of the lithosphere). Upward continuation will suppress signals from short wavelength sources at shallow depth, and reveal the signals from long wavelength sources (regional or deep sources).

Case 2. Surface potential Uo or gravity g at z=0 is NOT a simple harmonic function, but is well behaved (i.e. remain finite for all the range) then we can decompose them into the superposition of harmonic functions A(k)e ikx where A(k) is the spectral amplitude of the harmonic wave with wavelength =2 /k. (If the surface potential or gravity is dependent on x, then it can be decomposed into harmonic functions: A( k)e ikx where the amplitude spectrum A(k) depends on wave number k.) Mathematically, the decomposition can be written as the Fourier transform Uo( x ) = A( k )eikx dk for the present 2D case. The

amplitude spectrum A(k) can be obtained by the inverse Fourier transform:

A( k ) = 21 Uo ( x )e ikxdx . In practice, we apply the inverse FFT to the known potential

Uo to obtain the amplitude spectrum A(k) in the 1st step. Since each harmonic decays exponentially with height z, the potential at height z is just the superposition of the harmonic components at height z, i.e. U ( x , z) = A (k )e
k z ikx

dk . Thus in the second step, FFT is

k z

applied to the product of the amplitude spectrum A(k) with e Downward Continuation:

Suppose a surface mass distribution buried depth z = -h give rise to a gravity anomaly at the surface g = 2 G Cos( px ) . If there is no anomalous mass between the plane at z = -h and the surface z= 0, then replacing z by h in the formula for upward continuation, the gravity at the plane z = -h is just: g = 2 G Cos( px )e . Note that the gravity signal now grows exponentially with depth h. This process is called Downward Continuation. Downward continuation is used to enhance the response of the source at depth h by effectively bringing the surface of measurement closer to the sources. This process magnifies the short wavelengths relative to the long wavelengths thus brings the shallow sources more in focus. Theoretically, it is not possible to continue through a source (mass anomaly). If you did, then physically unreasonable solution is obtained. Since high frequency noise (e.g. baseline leveling error and other noise) are amplified in downward continuation, the short wavelength signals must be removed prior to downward continuation. This can be achieved by applying the Low Pass (Butterworth) filter or Optimal Wiener filter. To determine the cutoff wave-number for the Low Pass filter, it is useful to compute the Radially Averaged Spectrum from which one can determine the average depth for the different wavenumbers. For a given depth of downward continuation h, choose the wave-number at which sources (noise) remain shallower than h.

Spectral Depth Estimation

log S


U(x,0) slope = - 0.434z1 Uo (x,z1 ) k


Suppose there is a potential source Uo( x , z1 ) at depth z1 , the spectral amplitude of the source is

A( k ) = 21 Uo ( x, z1)e ikx dx .

If we make potential measurement at the surface z=0 and we get U ( x ,0) = A( k )e

k z1

k z 1 ikx


So, if we do a FFT on U ( x ,0) , we get the spectral amplitude S(k ) = A( k )e . A log-plot of the S(k) gives: log10 [ S] = log10 [ A ] 0. 434 k z1 since log10 x = 0. 434 ln x Assuming that A is independent of k, this is the equation of a straight line with slope 0. 434 z1 (black dash-dotted line in figure above). In general A(k) is a weak function of k (red jagged line). If there are two sources of mass anomaly, one at depth z1 , and another at depth z2 ( > z1 ) and much larger amplitude of contrast, then the log-plot of the spectral amplitude will be:

U( x ,0) = A1 (k )e

k z1 ikx

dk + A2 (k )e
k z1

k z2 ikx


So, if we do a FFT on U ( x ,0) , we get z=0 U(x,0)

S(k ) = A1 (k )e

+ A2 ( k )e

k z2

log S

slope = - 0.434z2 U 1 (x,z1 ) z1 U2 (x,z2 ) slope = - 0.434z1 k


Thus, the log-plot of the spectral amplitude (jagged line) reveals two sources at two different depths.

Problems introduced in Discrete Fourier Transform 1. Sampling introduces aliasing. To reduce this, must have smaller sampling interval. 2. Truncation introduces ripples. To reduce this, must choose the truncation function as long as possible. DFT of data for Upward continuation: 1. The length should be as long as possible, so that both long-wavelengths and neighboring anomalies' contributions are well represented. 2. If the data are available for only a small area, it is better to remove the average (D.C.) anomaly and the linear slope of the anomaly across the region before FFT. 3. To prevent "wrap-around", the data at the edges of the region should be artificially tapered to the mean value of the surrounding data. 4. Data should be padded with this mean value by adding points to the data set that extend to a distance greater than the depth of the target anomalies. ( Padding all points at the edge with the same value makes the "periodic" function continuos - and there is no anomaly at the ends.) Padding prevents instability, but the values near the ends remain unreliable as in any filtering method. If data is not padded, a mass on one side of the map will generate an upward continued anomaly on the opposite side of the map. 5. The data should extend many times over the distance that the data are continued upward. So, if the data is gathered over a rectangular area with minimum horizontal dimension L, then the maximum height that you can upward continue is L/2. Furthermore, if the height of upward continuation is z (km), then the result within a margin of width z (km) around the edge of the upward-continued map is unreliable due to edge effects.