Elastic reflection based waveform inversion with a nonlinear approach

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Full waveform inversion (FWI) is a highly nonlinear problem due to the complex reflectivity of the Earth, and this nonlinearity only increases under the more expensive elastic assumption. In elastic media, we need a good initial P-wave velocity and even a better initial S-wave velocity models with accurate representation of the low model wavenumbers for FWI to converge. However, inverting for the low wavenumber components of P- and S-wave velocities using reflection waveform inversion (RWI) with an objective to fit the reflection shape, rather than produce reflections, may mitigate the limitations of FWI. Because FWI, performing as a migration operator, is in preference of the high wavenumber updates along reflectors. We propose a nonlinear elastic RWI that inverts for both the low wavenumber and perturbation components of the P- and S-wave velocities. To generate the full elastic reflection wavefields, we derive an equivalent stress source made up by the inverted model perturbations and incident wavefields. We update both the perturbation and propagation parts of the velocity models in a nested fashion. Applications on synthetic isotropic models and field data show that our method can efficiently update the low and high wavenumber parts of the models.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R309-R321
Number of pages1
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 16 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Statoil ASA and the Volve license partners ExxonMobil E&P Norway AS and Bayerngas Norge AS, for the release of the Volve data. The views expressed in this paper are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Statoil ASA and the Volve field license partners. The authors would like to thank Marianne Houbiers from Statoil, who gave some very helpful suggestions and corrections. We also appreciate the suggestions provided by Antoine Guitton, Vincent Prieux from CGG, Jiubing Cheng and also two anonymous reviewers as part of the review process of this paper. We also thank KAUST for its support and we thank the SWAG group for collaborative environment, especially Zedong Wu and Juwon Oh for their helpful suggestions and discussions.


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