Investigation of the Solution Space of Marine Controlled-Source Electromagnetic Inversion Problems By Using a Genetic Algorithm

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 10:50 AM
Juerg Hunziker1, Jan Thorbecke1 and Evert C Slob2, (1)Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands, (2)Delft University of Technology, Delft, 5612, Netherlands
Commonly, electromagnetic measurements for exploring and monitoring hydrocarbon reservoirs are inverted for the subsurface conductivity distribution by minimizing the difference between the actual data and a forward modeled dataset. The convergence of the inversion process to the correct solution strongly depends on the shape of the solution space. Since this is a non-linear problem, there exist a multitude of minima of which only the global one provides the correct conductivity values. To easily find the global minimum we desire it to have a broad cone of attraction, while it should also feature a very narrow bottom in order to obtain the subsurface conductivity with high resolution.

In this study, we aim to determine which combination of input data corresponds to a favorable shape of the solution space. Since the solution space is N-dimensional, with N being the number of unknown subsurface parameters, plotting it is out of the question. In our approach, we use a genetic algorithm (Goldberg, 1989) to probe the solution space. Such algorithms have the advantage that every run of the same problem will end up at a different solution. Most of these solutions are expected to lie close to the global minimum. A situation where only few runs end up in the global minimum indicates that the solution space consists of a lot of local minima or that the cone of attraction of the global minimum is small. If a lot of runs end up with a similar data-misfit but with a large spread of the subsurface medium parameters in one or more direction, it can be concluded that the chosen data-input is not sensitive with respect to that direction.

Compared to the study of Hunziker et al. 2014, we allow also to invert for subsurface boundaries and include more combinations of input datasets. The results so far suggest that it is essential to include the magnetic field in the inversion process in order to find the anisotropic conductivity values.


Goldberg, D. E., 1989. Genetic algorithms in search, optimization, and machine learning, Addison-Wesley.

Hunziker, J., Thorbecke, J., & Slob, E., 2014. Probing the solution space of an EM inversion problem with a genetic algorithm. 84th annual SEG meeting, Denver.