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A towed magnetic gradiometer array for rapid, detailed imaging of utility, geological, and archaeological targets

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Efficient and accurate acquisition of magnetic field and gradient data have applications over a large range of environmental, archaeological, engineering, and geologic investigations. Developments in new systems and improvements in existing platforms have progressed to the point where magnetic surveying is a heavily used and trusted technique. However, there is still ample room to improve accuracy and coverage efficiency and to include reliable vector information. We have developed a vector magnetic gradiometer array capable of recording high-resolution field and gradient data over tens of hectares per day at 50 cm sensor spacing. Towed by an all-terrain vehicle, the system consists of eight vertical gradiometer sensor packages and incorporates differential GPS and an inertial measurement system. With a noise floor of around 6 nT at 15 km/h towing speed and 230 Hz sample rates, large areas can be mapped efficiently and precisely. Data are processed using a straightforward workflow, using both standard and newly developed methodologies. The system described here has been used successfully in Denmark to efficiently map buried structures and objects. We give two examples from such applications highlighting the system's capabilities in archaeological and geological applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

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