Improving the use of the randomized singular value decomposition for the inversion of gravity and magnetic data

Saeed Vatankhah, Shuang Liu, Rosemary Anne Renaut, Xiangyun Hu, Jamaledin Baniamerian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The focusing inversion of gravity and magnetic potential-field data using the randomized singular value decomposition (RSVD) method is considered. This approach facilitates tackling the computational challenge that arises in the solution of the inversion problem that uses the standard and accurate approximation of the integral equation kernel. We have developed a comprehensive comparison of the developed methodology for the inversion of magnetic and gravity data. The results verify that there is an important difference between the application of the methodology for gravity and magnetic inversion problems. Specifically, RSVD is dependent on the generation of a rank q approximation to the underlying model matrix, and the results demonstrate that q needs to be larger, for equivalent problem sizes, for the magnetic problem compared to the gravity problem. Without a relatively large q, the dominant singular values of the magnetic model matrix are not well approximated. We determine that this is due to the spectral properties of the matrix. The comparison also shows us how the use of the power iteration embedded within the randomized algorithm improves the quality of the resulting dominant subspace approximation, especially in magnetic inversion, yielding acceptable approximations for smaller choices of q. Further, we evaluate how the differences in spectral properties of the magnetic and gravity input matrices also affect the values that are automatically estimated for the regularization parameter. The algorithm is applied and verified for the inversion of magnetic data obtained over a portion of the Wuskwatim Lake region in Manitoba, Canada.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G93-G107
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • 3D
  • algorithm
  • gravity
  • inversion
  • magnetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics


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