Towards open, collaborative practices in geophysics: examples from geophysical simulations and inversions

Open communities in astrophysics, scientific computing, machine learning, and many other domains demonstrate the power of collaborative efforts to develop open-source software that facilitates research in each of their respective domains (e.g. Astropy, SciPy, Scikit-learn, PyTorch, etc.). Not only do open tools facilitate reproducibility of scientific work, they streamline the exchange of ideas between researchers, even across domains. SimPEG is an effort to build an open-source framework and community around numerical simulations and gradient-based inversions in geophysics. SimPEG supports forward simulations and inversions across a range of geophysical methods including magnetics, gravity, direct current resistivity, induced polarization, electromagnetics and fluid flow.

In this presentation, I will provide an overview of the SimPEG framework and demonstrate its use in research and education. In particular, I will present results from numerical studies that examine the use of electromagnetic methods for geophysical imaging in settings with steel-cased wells. Steel has both a high electrical conductivity (~106 S/m) and a significant magnetic permeability (~100𝜇0), thus, it can considerably (and non-intuitively) impact the behaviour of the currents, fields, and fluxes in an EM survey. I will explore aspects of the physical responses in a time-domain EM experiment with a steel-cased well and provide context for how these developments fit into the wider open-source ecosystem of tools for geophysics, including their use in the 2017 SEG DISC course on “Geophysical Electromagnetics: Fundamentals and Applications.”

Speaker Bio

Lindsey Heagy

Dr. Lindsey Heagy is a Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Statistics at the University of California Berkeley. She obtained her B.Sc. in Geophysics from the University of Alberta in 2012, and in 2018, she completed her PhD in Geophysics at the University of British Columbia, where she was a Vanier Scholar. During her PhD, she was a co-presenter for the 2017 SEG Distinguished Instructor Short Course on “Geophysical Electromagnetics: Fundamentals and Applications” with Dr. Douglas Oldenburg and colleague Dr. Seogi Kang.

Her research interests lie at the intersection of geophysics with data science and interactive computing. She contributes to open source software including SimPEG, Jupyter as well as the development of open educational resources through, and is a geoscience topic editor with the Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS).