ABSTRACT

In reflection seismology, full-waveform inversion (FWI) can generate high-wavenumber subsurface velocity models but often suffers from an objective function with local minima caused mainly by the absence of low frequencies in seismograms. These local minima cause cycle skipping when the low-wavenumber component in the initial velocity model for FWI is far from the true model. To avoid cycle skipping, we discovered a new wave-equation reflection traveltime inversion (WERTI) to update the low-wavenumber component of the velocity model, while using FWI to only update high-wavenumber details of the model. We implemented the low- and high-wavenumber inversions in an alternating way. In WERTI, we used dynamic image warping (DIW) to estimate the time shifts between recorded data and synthetic data. When compared with correlation-based techniques often used in traveltime estimation, DIW can avoid cycle skipping and estimate the time shifts accurately, even when shifts vary rapidly. Hence, by minimizing traveltime shifts estimated by dynamic warping, WERTI reduces errors in reflection traveltime inversion. Then, conventional FWI uses the low-wavenumber component estimated by WERTI as a new initial model and thereby refines the model with high-wavenumber details. The alternating combination of WERTI and FWI mitigates the velocity-depth ambiguity and can recover subsurface velocities using only high-frequency reflection data.

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