Every ellipse has two axes of symmetry. The inversion
proposed in this paper can estimate the inclination with
respect to the vertical of either one of them
depending on which axis is closer to the initial model.
In either case, the estimated parameters will always
describe the same *elliptical velocity function*.

Another way to understand why the inversion can estimate the inclination of either axis of symmetry is by examining the traveltime equation (1). An identical equation can be obtained if we switch in (1) and changing at the same time by . This means that the traveltimes are affected only by the elliptical function of velocities regardless of how such a function is described. Figure shows how a given ellipse can be described with two different sets of parameters.

If the inversion procedure is forced to estimate the same axis of the ellipse (either the major or the minor) for every layer, it can be more difficult (or impossible) to get a reliable estimate of the real elliptical velocity function of the medium, especially in cases when the axis of symmetry in the initial model is far from the true answer.

Figure 3

11/18/1997