Applying seismic inversion to estimate subsurface elastic earth properties for reservoir characterization is a challenge in exploration seismology. In recent years, waveform-based seismic inversions have gained popularity, but due to high computational costs, their applications are limited, and amplitude-variation-with-offset/angle inversion is still the current state-of-the-art. We have developed a genetic-algorithm-based prestack seismic waveform inversion methodology. By parallelizing at multiple levels and assuming a locally 1D structure such that forward computation of wave equation synthetics is computationally efficient, this method is capable of inverting 3D prestack seismic data on parallel computers. Applying this inversion to a real prestack seismic data volume from the Rock Springs Uplift (RSU) located in Wyoming, USA, we determined that our method is capable of inverting the data in a reasonable runtime and producing much higher quality results than amplitude-variation-with-offset/angle inversion. Because the primary purpose for seismic data acquisition at the RSU was to characterize the subsurface for potential targets for carbon dioxide sequestration, we also identified and analyzed some potential primary and secondary storage formations and their associated sealing lithologies from our inversion results.

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