Interpretation-Based Full Waveform Inversion




Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Full waveform inversion (FWI) is an iterative seismic data-fitting procedure used to resolve geologically complex subsurface property models. Inverting low-frequency components of the seismic wavefield to update velocity models has been shown to provide significant uplift to image quality during seismic processing but lacks sufficient resolution to be directly interpretable. Recent studies have shown that higher-frequency inversions can highlight interpretable features that can aid hydrocarbon exploration and reveal shallow geohazards among other applications. High-resolution models obtained from FWI have the potential to aid quantitative interpretation at stratigraphic and reservoir scales, but the accuracy and practical limitations of high-frequency seismic inversions remain an active research topic at the time of writing. To investigate, we perform acoustic FWI on a geologically realistic earth modeled data set created by the Western Australia Modeling Project. The earth model was built from field data and captures the seismic imaging challenges of the Northern Carnarvon Basin, on the Northwest Shelf of Australia. The inversion is performed as a blind test that mitigates bias and simulates a seismic exploration scenario. Throughout the workflow and inversion, initial estimates and model updates, respectively, are constrained by interpretation concepts in the model and data domains. Results demonstrate that interpretation concepts aid convergence to geologic property models and reduce the inherent non-uniqueness of FWI. Furthermore, the resulting inversion provides an opportunity to evaluate the potential benefits and limitations of directly interpretable models produced from acoustic FWI.



Geophysics, Geology, Geological modeling, Inversion (Geophysics), Seismic reflection method, Australia


©2020 David Paul Graham. All rights reserved.