A technique is presented to invert first-arrival time using simulated annealing. The scheme is based on an extremely fast finite-difference solution of the Eikonal equation to compute the first-arrival time through the velocity models by the multistencils fast marching method. The core of the simulated annealing, the Metropolis sampler, is applied in cascade with respect to shots to significantly reduce computer time. In addition, simulated annealing provides a suite of final models clustering around the global solution and having comparable least-squared error to allow determining uncertainties associated with inversion results.

The capability of this inversion technique is tested with both synthetic and real experimental data sets. The inversion results show that this technique successfully maps 2-D velocity profiles with high variation. The inverted wave velocity from the real data appears to be consistent with cone penetration test (CPT), geotechnical borings, and standard penetration test (SPT) results.

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