Acta Geophysica

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 545–555 | Cite as

Edge-based finite-element modeling of 3D frequency-domain electromagnetic data in general dispersive medium

  • Mingxin YueEmail author
  • Xiaoping Wu
Research Article - Applied Geophysics


The geophysical electromagnetic (EM) theories are commonly based on the assumption that the conductivity of underground media is frequency independent. However, due to the existence of induced polarization (IP) effect, many earth materials are dispersive, and their electrical conductivity varies significantly with frequency. Therefore, the conventional numerical techniques are not proper for EM forward modeling in general dispersive medium. We present a new algorithm for modeling three-dimensional (3D) EM data containing IP phenomena in frequency domain by using an edge-based finite element algorithm. In this research, we describe the dispersion behavior of earth media by using a Cole–Cole complex conductivity model. Our algorithm not only models land and airborne EM surveys but also provides more flexibility in describing the surface topography with irregular hexahedral grids. We have validated the developed algorithm using an analytic solution over a half-space model with and without IP effect. The capabilities of our code were demonstrated by modeling coupled EM induction and IP responses in controlled-source audio magnetotelluric (CSAMT) and airborne electromagnetic (AEM) examples. This algorithm will have important guiding significance for survey planning in the dispersive areas, and it could be taken as a forward solver for practical 3D inversion incorporated IP parameters.


Frequency-domain electromagnetic method Edge-based finite element Dispersion Induced polarization effect 



The author acknowledges two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions. This work was supported by The National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFC0603500), Natural Science Foundation of China (41874084, 41674076), and China Scholarship Council. Funding was provided by Open Fund of Key Laboratory of Exploration Technologies for Oil and Gas Resources (Yangtze University), Ministry of Education (Grant No. K2016-08).


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Copyright information

© Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences & Polish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Seismology and Physics of Earth’s Interior, School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Exploration Technologies for Oil and Gas Resources (Yangtze University)Ministry of EducationWuhanChina

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