Seismic imaging is conventionally performed using noisy data and a presumably inexact velocity model. Uncertainties in the input parameters propagate directly into the final image and therefore into any quantity of interest, or qualitative interpretation, obtained from the image. We considered the problem of uncertainty quantification in velocity building and seismic imaging using Bayesian inference. Using a reduced velocity model, a fast field expansion method for simulating recorded wavefields, and the adaptive Metropolis-Hastings algorithm, we efficiently quantify velocity model uncertainty by generating multiple models consistent with low-frequency full-waveform data. A second application of Bayesian inversion to any seismic reflections present in the recorded data reconstructs the corresponding structures’ position along with its associated uncertainty. Our analysis complements rather than replaces traditional imaging because it allows us to assess the reliability of visible image features and to take that into account in subsequent interpretations.

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