Using Empirical Mode Decomposition to process Marine Magnetotelluric Data

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Jin Chen, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany, Marion D Jegen, GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany, Bjorn H Heincke, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark and Max Moorkamp, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1, United Kingdom
The magnetotelluric (MT) data always exhibits nonstationarities due to variations of source mechanisms causing MT variations on different time and spatial scales. An additional non-stationary component is introduced through noise, which is particularly pronounced in marine MT data through motion induced noise caused by time-varying wave motion and currents. We present a new heuristic method for dealing with the non-stationarity of MT time series based on Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD). The EMD method is used in combination with the derived instantaneous spectra to determine impedance estimates. The procedure is tested on synthetic and field MT data. In synthetic tests the reliability of impedance estimates from EMD-based method is compared to the synthetic responses of a 1D layered model. To examine how estimates are affected by noise, stochastic stationary and non-stationary noise are added on the time series. Comparisons reveal that estimates by the EMD-based method are generally more stable than those by simple Fourier analysis. Furthermore, the results are compared to those derived by a commonly used Fourier-based MT data processing software (BIRRP), which incorporates additional sophisticated robust estimations to deal with noise issues. It is revealed that the results from both methods are already comparable, even though no robust estimate procedures are implemented in the EMD approach at present stage. The processing scheme is then applied to marine MT field data. Testing is performed on short, relatively quiet segments of several data sets, as well as on long segments of data with many non-stationary noise packages. Compared to BIRRP, the new method gives comparable or better impedance estimates, furthermore, the estimates are extended to lower frequencies and less noise biased estimates with smaller error bars are obtained at high frequencies. The new processing methodology represents an important step towards deriving a better resolved Earth model to greater depth underneath the seafloor.