Fast velocity model evaluation with synthesized wavefields

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Method

The procedure for Born modeling and migration to quickly test velocity models is detailed in Halpert and Tang (2011). To summarize, the major steps of the process are:

1. Using one or more subsurface offset gathers from the initial prestack image, create an areal source function via upward continuation. This is similar to the exploding reflector" concept (Claerbout, 2005), but inclusion of the prestack subsurface-offset data is important for attempts to improve upon the initial velocity model. Mathematically, this areal source is described as

 (1)

where are the arbitrarily defined locations where the wavefield will be recorded; is the vector of subsurface half-offsets; is angular frequency; is the initial image from which data is injected at isolated regions defined by ; and is the Green's function propagating the wavefield to the receiver locations (here, denotes the adjoint). Because the wavefield can be recorded at arbitrary locations, this method provides a simple means of re-datuming, which can lead to significant computational savings.
2. Use the new source function from step 1 and a reflectivity model based on the initial image to generate a new dataset with acquisition geometry best suited to image the target area. This can be accomplished via Born modeling, if we synthesize the new dataset and record it at arbitrary receiver locations :

 (2)

Here, is the reflectivity model (in our case, the isolated regions from the initial image), and the term is defined as

 (3)

where is the source function described in step 1. Because the velocity model used to compute the Green's functions is the same one used to generate the initial image, the resulting Born-modeled wavefield will be kinematically invariant regardless of the initial model (Tang, 2011). This is important because the initial model will inevitably contain errors, and the goal of the procedure described here is to improve upon it.
3. Using the synthesized data obtained in Step 2, and the source function from Step 1, generate an image using standard downward-continuation migration:

 (4)

Now, any velocity model can be used to compute the Green's functions. This step is extremely computationally efficient compared to a full migration of the original data, allowing for testing of several possible velocity models in a fraction of the time it would take to evaluate them using standard migration techniques.

With the procedure outlined above, significant savings may be realized if only a single shot is migrated, a situation made possible by the fact that an areal source function is used along with an arbitrary acquisition geometry. However, in many cases an image obtained in this manner is contaminated by crosstalk artifacts. Various solutions to the crosstalk attenuation problem have been proposed, for example using multiple phase-encoded shots (Tang, 2008; Romero et al., 2000). Unfortunately, this approach would hinder the computational efficiency of the evaluation procedure - one of its primary considerations. Instead, the procedure described above is applied only to isolated locations from a single reflector in the initial image. As long as these locations are separated by at least twice the maximum subsurface offset value used to synthesize the new source and receiver wavefields, any crosstalk problems should be avoided. This method also allows an interpreter or model-builder to select reflectors he or she thinks would be most sensitive to changes in the velocity model - for example, the base of salt.

Subsections
 Fast velocity model evaluation with synthesized wavefields

Next: Evaluation criteria Up: Halpert: Fast velocity model Previous: Introduction

2012-05-10