Our research

We focus on the creation and application of new methods for geophysical modeling and data processing, mostly in the fields of gravimetry and magnetometry.

Themes


Machine learning & data processing

It’s undeniable that a machine learning frenzy has taken over the world. Geoscientists have been doing similar things for decades, for example the equivalent layer technique in gravity and magnetics. Given the many similarities, we are applying other machine learning techniques to these geophysical problems.

Examples of our work on this theme:

Spatial data has uncertainties which need to be handled properly. There are different ways to use uncertainties as data weights for processing.
Spatial data has uncertainties which need to be handled properly. There are different ways to use uncertainties as data weights for processing.

Geophysical inversion and imaging

Our ultimate goal as geophysicists is to understand the inner structure and dynamics of the Earth from surface observations. This is a tough mathematical and computational problem: an ill-posed inverse problem, to which a solution might not exist or be non-unique and unstable. We develop methods to overcome these challenges and solve different kinds of inverse problems that arise in geophysics.

Examples of our work on this theme:

The planting method for solving the inverse problem of estimating density from observed gravity disturbances.

Forward modeling

A key component for solving an inverse problem is first solve the forward problem (predicting observed data from a known model of the subsurface). One of our main research themes is the development methods for forward modeling gravitational fields caused by a tesseroid (a segment of a sphere). This is a surprisingly difficult task but is crucial to model geology at continental and global scales.

Examples of our work on this theme:

A tesseroid (spherical prism) discretized using our adaptive algorithm.
A tesseroid (spherical prism) discretized using our adaptive algorithm.

Projects


Magnetic microscopy

The magnetization locked in minerals at the time of their formation is a gateway to the Earth’s distant past. So far, researchers have only been able to make bulk measurements from each sample. Magnetic microscopy technology is now allowing us to distinguish the magnetic fields of the individual minerals that make up the rock sample. Our group is working with experts in paleomagnetism to develop new methods that are capable of unlocking the huge potential of these new data.

Examples of our work on this project:

Example magnetic microscopy data showing tiny magnetic anomalies on the order of 20µm in size.
Example magnetic microscopy data showing tiny magnetic anomalies on the order of 20µm in size.

Antarctic geothermal heat flow

Heat flow from the Earth’s interior is an important parameter for how ice sheets flow and how the Earth’s crust rebounds upwards once ice mass is displaced, influencing sea-level rise. Magnetic anomaly data is one of the few ways we have to determine heat flow. Our group is working to improve the way airborne and satellite magnetic data are merged and modelled to produce heat flow estimates.

Examples of our work on this project:

The ADMAP2 compilation of open-access airborne magnetic anomaly data for Antarctica.
The ADMAP2 compilation of open-access airborne magnetic anomaly data for Antarctica.