Abstract

Several factors limit the resolution obtained in ray tomography. Of these the least thoroughly discussed in the geophysical literature is the effect of the ray approximation itself; scattering is ignored and the information contained in a seismic trace is reduced to one traveltime pick. Frequency domain comparisons of ray tomography with diffraction tomography have suggested that the minimum feature size resolvable by ray tomography is of the order of the width of the first Fresnel zone. We investigate resolution in the space-time domain with a numerical experiment. Four synthetic data sets were generated with a finite-difference program corresponding to crosshole tomographic surveys at two hole separations and two frequencies. The scale of resolution achieved in tomograms derived from these is then assessed by calculating their semblance to filtered versions of the original model and reconstructions from data sets obtained by tracing rays through the original models. The results broadly confirm the relation of resolution to Fresnel zones. It is therefore possible that such limits on resolution may be at least as significant as those due to other factors such as experimental geometry.

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