N.O. Kozhevnikov
M.V. Sharlov S.M. Stefanenko

: Geophysical Prospecting

In near-surface transient electromagnetic studies, it is desirable to measure the transient response starting from the earliest possible time. This requires the current in the transmitter loop to be switched off quickly, which necessitates working with a low transmitter current. As for deep-target transient electromagnetic studies, the transmitter current is as high as possible. The transmitter current's turn-off waveform and total duration affect the transient voltage response, especially at early times, which is to be accounted for when interpreting transient electromagnetic data. This article discusses the difference in switching off low and high current in a horizontal loop used as the source of the primary magnetic field in the transient electromagnetic method. Low and high currents are turned off in fundamentally different ways. When the current to be switched off is low, the loop can be represented as a symmetric combination of two transmission lines grounded at the middle of the loop perimeter. Such a representation of a loop allows calculating the current turn-off waveform at any point of the loop. The waveform and total duration of switching off a low current does not depend on its magnitude, but is determined by the period of natural oscillations of the current in the loop and the resistance of a shunting resistor. Switching off a low current in a loop can be represented as the sum of stepped current waves travelling along the loop wire. As a consequence, the current at different points of the loop perimeter is turned off at different times. In contrast to a low current, a high current is switched off linearly in time and synchronously at all points of the loop perimeter. The wave phenomena appear only at the very beginning of the current shutdown for a time interval that is much less than the total current turn-off duration. Presentation of the loop using a simple lumped-circuit model predicts the waveform and duration of the high current turn-off that coincide with the measured ones. There are two reasons why the article may be of interest to those engaged in the theory and/or practice of electromagnetic geophysical methods. First, it contributes to a general understanding of how the current in the transmitter loop is turned off. Second, the article shows how the parameters of a transmitter loop determine the current turn-off duration and thus the minimum depth of the transient electromagnetic sounding method.