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Front. Earth Sci., 05 January 2024
Sec. Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism
Volume 11 - 2023 |

Editorial: Advances in electromagnetic geophysical exploration

  • 1College of Information Science and Engineering, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China
  • 2School of Engineering, Deakin University, Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, Geelong, VIC, Australia
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Resources and Environment, East China University of Technology, Nanchang, China
  • 4School of Information Technology and Management, Hunan University of Finance and Economics, Changsha, China


Geophysical exploration is an effective way to build a national resource security system and carry out “deep exploration of blindness” (Di et al., 2019). The application of advanced scientific and technological means to extract deep geological information has become the development direction of contemporary geophysical research. Electromagnetic exploration is one of the earliest and most widely used geophysical techniques for mineral resource exploration. Electromagnetic methods, such as magnetotelluric (MT), audio magnetotelluric (AMT), transient electromagnetic method (TEM), and controlled source electromagnetic method (CSEM), have made a great contribution to industrialization and urbanization by discovering underground deposits of various resources (Tikhonov, 1950; Cagniard, 1953; He, 2010; Tang et al., 2015; Liu et al., 2019).

Driven by the latest progress in electronics and intelligent algorithms, electromagnetic exploration is developing at a high speed. Many challenges faced by traditional geophysical methods are now solvable. Emerging sensing technologies and signal processing technologies can significantly improve the accuracy of data analysis in many applications (Zhang et al., 2021; Li et al., 2023). At the same time, new technologies are promoting the development of new geophysical theories and methods. This Research Topic brings together articles reporting the latest progress in MT denoising, data processing, forward modelling, and inversion methods.

Advances in electromagnetic geophysical exploration

The articles in this Research Topic synthesise advanced techniques across electromagnetic data processing, 1D/2D/3D forward modelling, and inversion methods, covering a broad range of applications of the electromagnetic method.

Wang et al. presented a novel approach to analyse MT time series based on forward modelling and the correspondence between frequency- and time-domain electromagnetic fields. The study focused on the electromagnetic responses of a given numerical model to two orthogonal polarization sources. The randomness of the polarization of natural field sources was simulated by a linear combination of the two polarization sources. The novel approach provides a technical basis to transform the forward modeling of electromagnetic responses from the frequency domain to the time domain. Moreover, time series not derived from the inversion model can be separated to study the distribution of noise.

Zhan et al. reported a new MT data processing method based on cepstral analysis, which can suppress different types of MT noise, and obtain smoother and more continuous apparent resistivity curves, this method shows better performance than EMD method in handing MT data.

Chen et al. combined the analyses of three new parameters (the amplitude ratio predicted amplitude ratio, the linear coherence between the predicted and observed electric fields and the dispersion degree of the magnetic polarization direction) to detect noisy data, and developed an automatic pre-selection strategy for MT single-site data processing. The results showed that these parameters can be used to identify contaminated data, and a reliable response function can be obtained.

Tong et al. introduced a new efficient spectral element approach originally developed by Patera to solve 2D MT forward problems based on Gauss-Lobatto-Legendre polynomials. It has implied the spectral element method on a resistivity half-space model to obtain a simple analytical solution and find that the magnetic field solutions simulated by the spectral element approach matched closely to the exact solutions. Moreover, the method can compute the two-dimensional magnetotelluric responses of the boundary problem without measuring Earth’s curvature.

Zhu et al. proposed a rapid 3D MT forward modelling approach for arbitrary anisotropic conductivity in the Fourier domain. The study verified the classical 1D anisotropy model, calculated the 3D anisotropic model of land and ocean, and analysed the influence characteristics of the anisotropic medium on the MT response.

Li et al. reported a generic 3D forward modelling solver for CSEMs with multitype sources and operating environments. The numerical results showed that frequency domain CSEMs with a wire source were more suitable for detecting deep anomalies than time domain CSEMs with a loop source.

Ge and Li presented a finite difference algorithm for simulating the ocean wave-induced electromagnetic fields with variable seawater conductivity. The study revealed the impacts of variable seawater conductivity on the electromagnetic fields induced by the wind waves and swell as well as mixed ocean waves.

Su et al. reported a high-resolution 2D inversion method based on weighted horizontal and vertical constraints. The method ensured the horizontal continuity of resistivity and recovers the inclined strata, and improved the vertical resolution. The TEM data processing and inversion results were consistent with known geological information.

Tian et al. reported a new calculation method of arbitrary orientation single component electric field for the wide field electromagnetic method (WFEM). The study showed that the new method could reduce the influence of the azimuthal difference on the apparent resistivity parameters and thus improve the accuracy of interpretation.

Summary and outlook

The articles cover new methods in data processing, forward modelling, and inversion methods for electromagnetic exploration. These new electromagnetic processing methods can effectively analyse the characteristics of electromagnetic fields, improving the interpretation accuracy, and expand the applicability and flexibility of electromagnetic methods in the presence of complex environmental/topographical/geological conditions. Advances in electromagnetic geophysical exploration will contribute to the sustainable development of People-Earth system in the future.

Author contributions

JL: Supervision, Writing–review and editing. JG: Supervision, Writing–review and editing. CZ: Supervision, Writing–review and editing. XZ: Supervision, Writing–review and editing.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


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Keywords: electromagnetic method, data processing, forward modelling, inversion, calculation method

Citation: Li J, Gong J, Zhou C and Zhang X (2024) Editorial: Advances in electromagnetic geophysical exploration. Front. Earth Sci. 11:1356280. doi: 10.3389/feart.2023.1356280

Received: 15 December 2023; Accepted: 19 December 2023;
Published: 05 January 2024.

Edited and reviewed by:

Kenneth Philip Kodama, Lehigh University, United States

Copyright © 2024 Li, Gong, Zhou and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Jin Li,