Edge detection in gravity field of the Gheshm sedimentary basin

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Mining Engineering, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Faculty of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood Iran

3 P.O.Box: 36155-316, Shahrood, Iran.Exploration Division, National Iranian Oil Company, Tehran, Iran

4 Faculty of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran


Edge detection and edge enhancement techniques play an essential role in interpreting potential field data. This paper describes the application of various edge detection techniques to gravity data in order to delineate the edges of subsurface structures. The edge detection methods comprise analytic signal, total horizontal derivative (THDR), theta angle, tilt angle, hyperbolic of tilt angle (HTA), normalised total horizontal gradient (TDX) and normalised horizontal derivative (NTHD). The results showed that almost all filters delineated edges of anomalies successfully. However, the capability of these filters in edge detection decreased as the depth of sources increased. Of the edge enhancement filters, normalized standard deviation filter provided much better results in delineating deeper sources. The edge detection techniques were further applied on a real gravity data from the Gheshm sedimentary basin in the Persian Gulf in Iran. All filters specified a northeast-southwest structural trend. The THDR better outlined the structural morphology and trend. Moreover, it indicated the salt plugs much better than other filters. Analytic signal and THDR successfully enhanced the edges of the shorter wavelength residual structures. Normalized standard deviation (NSTD), TDX and hyperbolic of tilt angle (HTA) filters highlighted the likely fault pattern and lineaments, with a dominant northeast-southwest structural trend. This case study shows that the edge detection techniques provides valuable information for geologists and petroleum engineers to outline the horizontal location of geological sources including salt plugs and stand out buried faults, contacts and other tectonic and geological features.