Comparison of methods for a 3-D density inversion from airborne gravity gradiometry

Zhourun Ye, Robert Tenzer, Nico Sneeuw

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we apply Tikhonov’s regularization algorithm for a 3-D density inversion from the gravity-gradiometry data. To reduce the non-uniqueness of the inverse solution (carried out without additional information from geological evidence), we implement the depth-weighting empirical function. However, the application of an empirical function in the inversion equation brings the bias problem of the regularization factor when a traditional Tikhonov’s algorithm is applied. To solve the bias problem of regularization factor selection, we present a standardized solution that comprises two parts for solving a 3-D constrained inversion equation, specifically the linear matrix transformation and Tikhonov’s regularization algorithm. Since traditional regularization techniques become numerically inefficient when dealing with large number of data, we further apply methods which include the Simultaneous Iterative Reconstruction Technique (SIRT) and the wavelet compression combined with Least Squares QR-decomposition (LSQR). In our simulation study, we demonstrate that SIRT as well as the wavelet compression plus LSQR algorithm improve the computation efficiency, while provide results which closely agree with that obtained from applying Tikhonov’s regularization. In particular, the algorithm of wavelet compression plus LSQR shows the best computing efficiency, because it combines the advantages of coefficients compression of big matrix and fast solution of sparse matrix. Similar findings are confirmed from the vertical gravity gradient data inversion for detecting potential deposits at the Kauring (near Perth, Western Australia) testing site.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudia Geophysica et Geodaetica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • airborne gravity gradiometry
  • density structure
  • Tikhonov’s regularization
  • wavelet compression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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