Finite element approximation of electromagnetic fields using nonfitting meshes for Geophysics
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We analyze the use of nonfitting meshes for simulating the propagation of electromagnetic waves inside the earth with applications to borehole logging. We avoid the use of parameter homogenization and employ standard edge finite element basis functions. For our geophysical applications, we consider a 3D Maxwell’s system with piecewise constant conductivity and globally constant permittivity and permeability. The model is analyzed and discretized using both the Eand H-formulations. Our main contribution is to develop a sharp error estimate for both the electric and magnetic fields. In the presence of singularities, our estimate shows that the magnetic field approximation is converging faster than the electric field approximation. As a result, we conclude that error estimates available in the literature are sharp with respect to the electric field error but provide pessimistic convergence rates for the magnetic field in our geophysical applications. Another surprising consequence of our analysis is that nonfitting meshes deliver the same convergence rate as fitting meshes to approximate the magnetic field. Our theoretical results are numerically illustrated via 2D experiments. For the analyzed cases, the accuracy loss due to the use of nonfitting meshes islimited, even for high conductivity contrasts.