The finite-difference method (FDM) is one of the most popular numerical methods to simulate seismic wave propagation in complex velocity models. If a uniform grid is applied in FDM for heterogeneous models, the grid spacing is determined by the global minimum velocity to suppress dispersion and dissipation errors in the numerical scheme, resulting in spatial oversampling in higher velocity zones. Then, the small grid spacing dictates a small time step due to the stability condition of explicit numerical schemes. The spatial oversampling and reduced time step will cause unnecessarily inefficient use of memory and computational resources in simulations for strongly heterogeneous media. To overcome this problem, we have used the adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) technique in the FDM to flexibly adjust the grid spacing following velocity variations. AMR is rarely used in acoustic wave simulations with the FDM due to the increased complexity of implementation, including its data management, grid generation, and computational load balancing on high-performance computing platforms. We implement AMR for 2D acoustic wave simulation in strongly heterogeneous media based on the patch approach with FDM. The AMR grid can be automatically generated for given velocity models. To simplify the implementation, we use a well-developed AMR framework, AMReX, to carry out the complex grid management. Numerical tests determine the stability, accuracy level, and efficiency of the AMR scheme. The computation time is approximately proportional to the number of grid points, and the overhead due to the wavefield exchange and data structure is small.

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