Global surface wave inversion with model constraints
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 59, No 2, March 2011 pp. 210 - 226
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.31Mb )
Practical applications of surface wave inversion demand reliable inverted shear-wave profiles and a rigorous assessment of the uncertainty associated to the inverted parameters. As a matter of fact, the surface wave inverse problem is severely affected by solution non-uniqueness: the degree of non-uniqueness is closely related to the complexity of the observed dispersion pattern and to the experimental inaccuracies in dispersion measurements.Moreover, inversion pitfalls may be connected to specific problems such as inadequate model parametrization and incorrect identification of the surface wave modes. Consequently, it is essential to tune the inversion problem to the specific dataset under examination to avoid unnecessary computations and possible misinterpretations. In the heuristic inversion algorithm presented in this paper, different types of model constraints can be easily introduced to bias constructively the solution towards realistic estimates of the 1D shear-wave profile. This approach merges the advantages of global inversion, like the extended exploration of the parameter space and a theoretically rigorous assessment of the uncertainties on the inverted parameters, with the practical approach of Lagrange multipliers, which is often used in deterministic inversion, which helps inversion to converge towards models with desired properties (e.g., ‘smooth’ or ‘minimum norm’ models). In addition, two different forward kernels can be alternatively selected for direct-problem computations: either the conventional modal inversion or, instead, the direct minimization of the secular function, which allows the interpreter to avoid mode identification. A rigorous uncertainty assessment of the model parameters is performed by posterior covariance analysis on the accepted solutions and the modal superposition associated to the inverted models is investigated by full-waveform modelling. This way, the interpreter has several tools to address the more probable sources of inversion pitfalls within the framework of a rigorous and well-tested global inversion algorithm. The effectiveness and the versatility of this approach, as well as the impact of the interpreter’s choices on the final solution and on its posterior uncertainty, are illustrated using both synthetic and real data. In the latter case, the inverted shear velocity profiles are blind compared with borehole data.