Abstract

Assessing the effectiveness of elastic full-waveform-inversion (FWI) algorithms when applied to shallow 2D structures in the presence of a complex topography is critically important. By using FWI, we overcome inherent limitations of conventional seismic methods used for near-surface prospecting (acoustic tomography and multichannel spectral analysis of surface waves). The elastic forward problem, formulated in the frequency domain, is based on a mixed finite-element P0-P1 discontinuous Galerkin method to ensure accurate modeling of complex topography effects at a reasonable computing cost. The inversion problem uses an FWI algorithm to minimize the misfit between observed and calculated data. Based on results from a numerical experiment performed on a realistic landslide model inspired from the morphostructure of the Super-Sauze earthflow, we analyzed the effect of using a hierarchical preconditioning strategy, based on a simultaneous multifrequency inversion of damped data, to mitigate the strong nonlinearities coming from the surface waves. This strategy is a key point in alleviating the strong near-surface effects and avoiding convergence toward a local minimum. Using a limited-memory quasi-Newton method improved the convergence level. These findings are analogous to recent applications on large-scale domains, although limited source-receiver offset ranges, low-frequency content of the source, and domination of surface waves on the signal led to some difficulties. Regarding the impact of data decimation on the inversion results, we have learned that an inversion restricted to the vertical data component can be successful without significant loss in terms of parameter imagery resolution. In our investigations of the effect of increased source spacing, we found that a sampling of 4 m (less than three times the theoretical maximum of one half-wavelength) led to severe aliasing.

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