A reversible-jump Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm for 1D inversion of magnetotelluric data

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This paper presents a new computer code developed to solve the 1D magnetotelluric (MT) inverse problem using a Bayesian trans-dimensional Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm. MT data are sensitive to the depth-distribution of rock electric conductivity (or its reciprocal, resistivity). The solution provided is a probability distribution - the so-called posterior probability distribution (PPD) for the conductivity at depth, together with the PPD of the interface depths. The PPD is sampled via a reversible-jump Markov Chain Monte Carlo (rjMcMC) algorithm, using a modified Metropolis-Hastings (MH) rule to accept or discard candidate models along the chains. As the optimal parameterization for the inversion process is generally unknown a trans-dimensional approach is used to allow the dataset itself to indicate the most probable number of parameters needed to sample the PPD. The algorithm is tested against two simulated datasets and a set of MT data acquired in the Clare Basin (County Clare, Ireland). For the simulated datasets the correct number of conductive layers at depth and the associated electrical conductivity values is retrieved, together with reasonable estimates of the uncertainties on the investigated parameters. Results from the inversion of field measurements are compared with results obtained using a deterministic method and with well-log data from a nearby borehole. The PPD is in good agreement with the well-log data, showing as a main structure a high conductive layer associated with the Clare Shale formation. In this study, we demonstrate that our new code go beyond algorithms developend using a linear inversion scheme, as it can be used: (1) to by-pass the subjective choices in the 1D parameterizations, i.e. the number of horizontal layers in the 1D parameterization, and (2) to estimate realistic uncertainties on the retrieved parameters. The algorithm is implemented using a simple MPI approach, where independent chains run on isolated CPU, to take full advantage of parallel computer architectures. In case of a large number of data, a master/slave appoach can be used, where the master CPU samples the parameter space and the slave CPUs compute forward solutions.




Mandolesi, E., Ogaya, X., Campanyà, J., & Piana Agostinetti, N. (2018). A reversible-jump Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm for 1D inversion of magnetotelluric data. Computers and Geosciences, 113, 94–105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cageo.2018.01.011

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