Large-scale 3D modeling of realistic earth models is being increasingly undertaken in industry and academia. These models have proven useful for various activities such as geologic scenario testing through seismic finite-difference (FD) modeling, investigating new acquisition geometries, and validating novel seismic imaging, inversion, and interpretation methods. We have evaluated the results of the Western Australia (WA) Modeling (WAMo) project, involving the development of a large-scale 3D geomodel representative of geology of the Carnarvon Basin, located offshore of WA’s North West Shelf (NWS). Constrained by a variety of geologic, petrophysical, and field seismic data sets, the viscoelastic WAMo 3D geomodel was used in seismic FD modeling and imaging tests to “validate” model realizations. Calibrating the near-surface model proved to be challenging due to the limited amount of well data available for the top 500 m below the mudline. We addressed this issue by incorporating additional information (e.g., geotechnical data, analog studies) as well as by using soft constraints to match the overall character of nearby NWS seismic data with the modeled shot gathers. This process required undertaking several “linear” iterations to apply near-surface model conditioning, as well as “nonlinear” iterations to update the underlying petrophysical relationships. Overall, the resulting final WAMo 3D geomodel and accompanying modeled shot gathers and imaging results are able to reproduce the complex full-wavefield character of NWS marine seismic data. Thus, the WAMo model is well-calibrated for use in geologic and geophysical scenario testing to address common NWS seismic imaging, inversion, and interpretation challenges.

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