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Abstract

We have interpreted the airborne gravity gradiometry data from Quadrilátero Ferrífero, an iron ore province in southeastern Brazil. Aiming at retrieving the geometry of the iron body, we have used a fast and novel gravity inversion method for estimating a 3D density‐contrast distribution defined on a grid of prisms. This inversion approach combines robust data‐fitting with an iterative procedure that does not require the solution of a large equation system. By using a systematic search algorithm, the estimated mass grows around prismatic elements called “seeds”. The interpreter specifies the locations and the associated density contrasts of the seeds. Automatically, the inversion method fits the observations and favors compact gravity sources closest to the seeds. To produce a more robust data fitting than least‐squares fit, the inversion method minimizes the L1—norm of the residuals. Hence, it allows the presence of large residuals, so that outliers produced by non‐targeted bodies can be handled. By using 126 seeds which were assigned density contrasts of 0.5 g.cm−3 and whose locations were based on our knowledge about the QF area, we have retrieved a continuous elongated iron body that fits the observed components of the gravity gradient. Our inversion result agrees reasonably with previous geophysical interpretations. In addition, our result honors the borehole information about the iron body depth.