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Exploring some issues in acoustic full waveform inversionNormal access

Authors: W.A. Mulder and R.-E. Plessix
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 56, No 6, November 2008 pp. 827 - 841
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2478.2008.00708.x
Organisations: Wiley
Special topic: Towards a Full Waveform Inversion
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.96Mb )

Summary:
The least-squares error measures the difference between observed and modelled seismic data. Because it suffers from local minima, a good initial velocity model is required to avoid convergence to the wrong model when using a gradient-based minimization method. If a data set mainly contains reflection events, it is difficult to update the velocity model with the least-squares error because the minimization method easily ends up in the nearest local minimum without ever reaching the global minimum.

Several authors observed that the model could be updated by diving waves, requiring a wide-angle or large-offset data set. This full waveform tomography is limited to a maximum depth. Here, we use a linear velocity model to obtain estimates for the maximum depth. In addition, we investigate how frequencies should be selected if the seismic data are modelled in the frequency domain. In the presence of noise, the condition to avoid local minima requires more frequencies than needed for sufficient spectral coverage.

We also considered acoustic inversion of a synthetic marine data set created by an elastic time-domain finite-difference code. This allowed us to validate the estimates made for the linear velocity model. The acoustic approximation leads to a number of problems when using long-offset data. Nevertheless, we obtained reasonable results. The use of a variable density in the acoustic inversion helped to match the data at the expense of accuracy in the inversion result for the density.


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