ABSTRACT

Modeling and imaging techniques for geophysics are extremely demanding in terms of computational resources. Seismic data attempt to resolve smaller scales and deeper targets in increasingly more complex geologic settings. Finite elements enable accurate simulation of time-dependent wave propagation in heterogeneous media. They are more costly than finite-difference methods, but this is compensated by their superior accuracy if the finite-element mesh follows the sharp impedance contrasts and by their improved efficiency if the element size scales with wavelength, hence with the local wave velocity. However, 3D complex geologic settings often contain details on a very small scale compared to the dominant wavelength, requiring the mesh to contain elements that are smaller than dictated by the wavelength. Also, limitations of the mesh generation software may produce regions where the elements are much smaller than desired. In both cases, this leads to a reduction of the time step required to solve the wave propagation and significantly increases the computational cost. Local time stepping (LTS) can improve the computational efficiency and speed up the simulation. We evaluated a local formulation of an LTS scheme with second-order accuracy for the discontinuous Galerkin finite-element discretization of the wave equation. We tested the benefits of the scheme by considering a geologic model for a North-Sea-type example.

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