Joint seismic and gravity analyses of the San Emidio geothermal field in the northwest Basin and Range province of Nevada demonstrate that joint optimization changes interpretation outcomes. The prior 0.3–0.5 km deep basin interpretation gives way to a deeper than 1.3 km basin model. Kirchoff prestack depth migrations reveal that joint optimization ameliorates shallow velocity artifacts, flattening antiformal reflectors that could have been interpreted as folds. Furthermore, joint optimization provides a clearer picture of the rangefront fault by increasing the depth of constrained velocities, which improves reflector coherency at depth. This technique provides new insight when applied to existing data sets and could replace the existing strategy of forward modeling to match gravity data. We have achieved stable joint optimization through simulated annealing, a global optimization algorithm that does not require an accurate initial model. Balancing the combined seismic-gravity objective function is accomplished by a new approach based on analysis of Pareto charts. Gravity modeling uses an efficient convolution model, and the basis of seismic modeling is the highly efficient Vidale eikonal equation traveltime generation technique. Synthetic tests found that joint optimization improves velocity model accuracy and provides velocity control below the deepest headwave raypath. Restricted offset-range migration analysis provides insights into precritical and gradient reflections in the data set.

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