Abstract

Full-waveform inversion of land seismic data tends to get stuck in a local minimum associated with the waveform misfit function. This problem can be partly mitigated by using an initial velocity model that is close to the true velocity model. This initial starting model can be obtained by inverting traveltimes with ray-tracing traveltime tomography (RT) or wave-equation traveltime (WT) inversion. We have found that WT can provide a more accurate tomogram than RT by inverting the first-arrival traveltimes, and empirical tests suggest that RT is more sensitive to the additive noise in the input data than WT. We present two examples of applying WT and RT to land seismic data acquired in western Saudi Arabia. One of the seismic experiments investigated the water-table depth, and the other one attempted to detect the location of a buried fault. The seismic land data were inverted by WT and RT to generate the P-velocity tomograms, from which we can clearly identify the water table depth along the seismic survey line in the first example and the fault location in the second example.

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