Exploration Geophysics Exploration Geophysics Society
Journal of the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Correction and compensation of an airborne fluxgate magnetic tensor gradiometer

Yangyi Sui 1 2 Hongsong Miao 1 Zhijian Zhou 1 Hui Luan 1 Yanzhang Wang 1
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Geo-exploration Instruments, Ministry of Education of China, and College of Instrumentation and Electrical Engineering, Jilin University, Changchun 130026, China.

2 Corresponding author. Email: suiyangyi@jlu.edu.cn

Exploration Geophysics - https://doi.org/10.1071/EG16124
Submitted: 18 October 2016  Accepted: 15 August 2017   Published online: 27 September 2017

Abstract

An airborne fluxgate magnetic tensor gradiometer is built on fluxgates to measure directional derivatives of the magnetic field. It has been used to carry out many geophysical exploration programs quickly and efficiently. However, two key issues greatly reduce the data quality of a tensor gradiometer. One is that the fluxgate magnetic tensor gradiometer suffers various errors, such as scale drift, non-orthogonality, misalignment, zero offset, dynamic, and nonlinear errors of individual fluxgates, along with differences between characteristics of fluxgates. The other is that manoeuvring an aircraft flying in the geomagnetic field can generate magnetic interference effects on a tensor gradiometer. Regarding the common airborne fluxgate magnetic tensor gradiometer that has a cross-shaped structure, we have proposed the magnetic interference model of the aircraft and the error model of a single fluxgate. Then we have seamlessly combined these two models into the unified calibration model of a tensor gradiometer by a recursive method. Finally, we have simultaneously determined the correction coefficients and the magnetic properties of the aircraft by a calibration flight at high altitude in an area of low magnetic gradient. We have evaluated the performance of the proposed method through simulation and actual flight results using a microlight aircraft. The root-mean-square noise of each component has reached the level of less than 1.5 nT/m, and the improvement ratios are from 4096 to 17444 in terms of the measured field data of tensor components. The proposed method reduces the reliance of the installation on the aircraft and can easily be applied to other tensor gradiometers, such as airborne superconducting magnetic tensor gradiometers.

Key words: airborne, compensation, correction, fluxgate, magnetic tensor gradiometer.


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