A basis pursuit inversion of seismic reflection data for reflection coefficients is introduced as an alternative method of incorporating a priori information in the seismic inversion process. The inversion is accomplished by building a dictionary of functions representing reflectivity patterns and constituting the seismic trace as a superposition of these patterns. Basis pursuit decomposition finds a sparse number of reflection responses that sum to form the seismic trace. When the dictionary of functions is chosen to be a wedge-model of reflection coefficient pairs convolved with the seismic wavelet, the resulting reflectivity inversion is a sparse-layer inversion, rather than a sparse-spike inversion. Synthetic tests suggest that a sparse-layer inversion using basis pursuit can better resolve thin beds than a comparable sparse-spike inversion. Application to field data indicates that sparse-layer inversion results in the potentially improved detectability and resolution of some thin layers and reveals apparent stratigraphic features that are not readily seen on conventional seismic sections.

You do not currently have access to this article.