Coupled Inversion of Amplitudes and Traveltimes of Primaries and Multiples for Monochannel Seismic Surveys

Aldo Vesnaver and Luca Baradello    


Engineers need to know properties of shallow marine sediments to build piers, pipelines and even offshore windfarms. We present a method for estimating the density, P velocity and thickness of these sediments. The traveltime inversion of primary and multiple reflections enables their semiquantitative estimation in marine surveys when using a minimal acquisition system such as a monochannel Boomer. Picking errors, ambient noise and interfering events lead to significant errors in the estimates. Similar, albeit milder, instabilities occur when inverting the signal amplitudes to determine the reflectivity of the layer interfaces. In this paper, we introduce a coupling between the separate inversion of amplitudes and traveltimes to obtain a better Earth model. The P velocity shows up in two stable terms provided by the separate inversions: the acoustic impedance of shallow sediments (through the amplitudes) and the transit time across the sediment layer (through the traveltimes). We couple the two inversion engines by imposing a smoothness condition on velocity and density and thickness of the layer while keeping the impedance and traveltime constant. We thus exploit the ambiguity of the solution to introduce geological criteria and reduce the noise contribution. We validated the proposed method with synthetic and real data.

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