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Book Chapter

10: Structural Inversion

January 01, 2001


A recorded seismic wavefield represented by a shot gather has two components – traveltimes and amplitudes. Direct inversion of a seismic wavefield to estimate elastic parameters of the earth demands numerically intensive computations. Instead, most practical methods of inversion are applied to seismic traveltimes and amplitudes, separately. In Chapter 9, we discussed methods of layer velocity estimation – Dix conversion, stacking velocity inversion, and coherency inversion, which essentially are based on inversion of traveltimes. In Chapter 8, we discussed prestack Kirchhoff migration, which again, essentially is based on computing diffraction traveltimes. Traveltime inversion thus yields a structural model of the earth represented by a set of layer velocities and reflector geometries, which can then be used to derive a structural image of the earth by depth migration. The term structural inversion may be appropriately used to describe the process of structural modeling and imaging by way of inversion of traveltimes.

In Chapter 11, we shall discuss poststack amplitude inversion to estimate an acoustic impedance model of the earth and prestack amplitude inversion to derive the amplitude variation with offset (AVO) attributes. Amplitude inversion thus yields a stratigraphic model of the earth represented by a combination of acoustic impedance and AVO attribute changes within the layers themselves. The term stratigraphic inversion may be appropriately used to describe the processes of estimating the acoustic impedance and AVO attributes by way of inversion of amplitudes.

In this chapter, we shall discuss case studies in structural inversion of 2-D and 3-D seismic data. These case studies relate to structural complexities caused by

(a) extensional tectonism as in the cases of salt diapirs of the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico,

(b) compressional tectonism as in the cases of overthrust belts of the Middle East and Rocky Mountains, and

(c) wrench tectonism as in the cases of the pull-apart basins of offshore Indonesia and Venezuela.

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Investigations in Geophysics

Seismic Data Analysis: Processing, Inversion, and Interpretation of Seismic Data

Öz Yilmaz
Öz Yilmaz
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Society of Exploration Geophysicists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2001




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