ABSTRACT

Anisotropic waveform tomography (AWT) uses anisotropic traveltime tomography followed by anisotropic full-waveform inversion (FWI). Such an approach is required for FWI in cases in which the geology is likely to exhibit anisotropy. An important anisotropy class is that of transverse isotropy (TI), and the special case of TI media with a vertical symmetry axis (VTI) media is often used to represent elasticity in undeformed sedimentary layering. We have developed an approach for AWT that uses an acoustic approximation to simulate waves in VTI media, and we apply this approach to crosshole data. In our approach, the best-fitting models of seismic velocity and Thomsen VTI anisotropy parameters are initially obtained using anisotropic traveltime tomography, and they are then used as the starting models for VTI FWI within the acoustic approximation. One common problem with the acoustic approach to TI media is the generation of late-arriving (spurious) S-waves as a by-product of the equation system. We used a Laplace-Fourier approach that effectively damps the spurious S-waves to suppress artifacts that might otherwise corrupt the final inversion results. The results of applying AWT to synthetic data illustrate the trade-offs in resolution between the two parameter classes of velocity and anisotropy, and they also verify anisotropic traveltime tomography as a valid method for generating starting models for FWI. The synthetic study further indicates the importance of smoothing the anisotropy parameters before proceeding to FWI inversions of the velocity parameter. The AWT technique is applied to real crosshole field gathers from a sedimentary environment in Western Canada, and the results are compared with the results from a simpler (elliptical) anisotropy model. The transversely isotropic approach yields an FWI image of the vertical velocity that (1) exhibits a superior resolution and (2) better predicts the field data than does the elliptical approach.

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