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Three-dimensional adaptive higher order finite element simulation for geo-electromagnetics—a marine CSEM example

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Now at: University of British Columbia, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, 6339 Stores Road, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada.

SUMMARY

We present a new 3-D vector finite element code and demonstrate its strength by modelling a realistic marine CSEM scenario. Unstructured tetrahedral meshes easily allow for the inclusion of arbitrary seafloor bathymetry so that natural environments are mapped into the model in a close-to-reality way. A primary/secondary field approach, an adaptive mesh refinement strategy as well as a higher order polynomial finite element approximation improve the solution accuracy. A convergence study strongly indicates that the use of higher order finite elements is beneficial even if the solution is not globally smooth. The marine CSEM scenario also shows that seafloor topography gives an important response which needs to be reproduced by numerical modelling to avoid the misinterpretation of measurements.

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