Perfectly matched layer (PML) absorbing boundaries are widely used to suppress spurious edge reflections in seismic modeling. When modeling Rayleigh waves with the existence of the free surface, the classical PML algorithm becomes unstable when the Poisson's ratio of the medium is high. Numerical errors can accumulate exponentially and terminate the simulation due to computational overflows. Numerical tests show that the divergence speed of the classical PML has a nonlinear relationship with the Poisson's ratio. Generally, the higher the Poisson's ratio, the faster the classical PML diverges. The multiaxial PML (M-PML) attenuates the waves in PMLs using different damping profiles that are proportional to each other in orthogonal directions. The proportion coefficients of the damping profiles usually vary with the specific model settings. If they are set appropriately, the M-PML algorithm is stable for high Poisson's ratio earth models. Through numerical tests of 40 models with Poisson's ratios that varied from 0.10 to 0.49, we found that a constant proportion coefficient of 1.0 for the x- and z-directional damping profiles is sufficient to stabilize the M-PML for all 2D isotropic elastic cases. Wavefield simulations indicate that the instability of the classical PML is strongly related to the wave phenomena near the free surface. When applying the multiaxial technique only in the corners of the PML near the free surface, the original M-PML technique can be simplified without losing its stability. The simplified M-PML works efficiently for homogeneous and heterogeneous earth models with high Poisson's ratios. The analysis in this paper is based on 2D finite difference modeling in the time domain that can easily be extended into the 3D domain with other numerical methods.

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