Seismic full-waveform inversion (FWI) is a powerful method used to estimate the elastic properties of the subsurface. To mitigate the nonlinearity and cycle-skipping problems, in a hierarchical manner, one first inverts the low-frequency content to determine long- and medium-wavelength structures and then increases the frequency content to obtain detailed information. However, the inversion of higher frequencies can be computationally very expensive, especially when the target of interest, such as oil/gas reservoirs and axial melt lens, is at a great depth, far away from source and receiver arrays. To address this problem, we have developed a localized FWI algorithm in which iterative modeling is performed locally, allowing us to extend inversions for higher frequencies with little computation effort. Our method is particularly useful for time-lapse seismic, where the changes in elastic parameters are local due to fluid extraction and injection in the subsurface. In our method, the sources and receivers are extrapolated to a region close to the target area, allowing forward modeling and inversion to be performed locally after low-frequency full-model inversion for the background model, which by nature only represents long- to medium-wavelength features. Numerical tests show that the inversion of low-frequency data for the overburden is sufficient to provide an accurate high-frequency estimation of elastic parameters of the target region.

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