A geometric approach to joint inversion with applications to contaminant source zone characterization Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper presents a new joint inversion approach to shape-based inverse problems. Given two sets of data from distinct physical models, the main objective is to obtain a unified characterization of inclusions within the spatial domain of the physical properties to be reconstructed. Although our proposed method generally applies to many types of inverse problems, the main motivation here is to characterize subsurface contaminant source zones by processing down-gradient hydrological data and cross-gradient electrical resistance tomography observations. Inspired by Newton's method for multi-objective optimization, we present an iterative inversion scheme in which descent steps are chosen to simultaneously reduce both data-model misfit terms. Such an approach, however, requires solving a non-smooth convex problem at every iteration, which is computationally expensive for a pixel-based inversion over the whole domain. Instead, we employ a parametric level set technique that substantially reduces the number of underlying parameters, making the inversion computationally tractable. The performance of the technique is examined and discussed through the reconstruction of source zone architectures that are representative of dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) contaminant release in a statistically homogenous sandy aquifer. In these examples, the geometric configuration of the DNAPL mass is considered along with additional information about its spatial variability within the contaminated zone, such as the identification of low and high saturation regions. Comparison of the reconstructions with the true DNAPL architectures highlights the superior performance of the model-based technique and joint inversion scheme. 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Aghasi, A., Mendoza-Sanchez, I., Miller, E. L., Ramsburg, C. A., & Abriola, L. M.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Aghasi, Alireza||Mendoza-Sanchez, Itza||Miller, Eric L||Ramsburg, C Andrew||Abriola, Linda M

publication date

  • January 2013