Finite-difference methods have generally been used to solve dynamic wave propagation problems over the last 25 years (Alterman and Karal, 1968; Boore, 1972; Kelly et al., 1976; and Levander, 1988). Recently, finite-difference methods have been applied to the eikonal equation to calculate the kinematic solution to the wave equation (Vidale, 1988 and 1990; Podvin and Lecomte, 1991; Van Trier and Symes, 1991; Qin et al., 1992). The calculation of the first-arrival times using this method has proven to be considerably faster than using classical ray tracing, and problems such as shadow zones, multipathing, and barrier penetration are easily handled. Podvin and Lecomte (1991) and Matsuoka and Ezaka (1992) extended and expanded upon Vidale’s (1988) algorithm to calculate traveltimes for reflected waves in two dimensions. Based on finite-difference calculations for first-arrival times, Hole et al. (1992) devised a scheme for inverting synthetic and real data to estimate the depth to refractors in the crust in three dimensions. The method of Hole et al. (1992) for inversion is computationally efficient since it avoids the matrix inversion of many of the published schemes for refraction and reflection traveltime data (Gjøystdal and Ursin, 1981).

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