Nonuniform 3D finite difference elastic wave simulation on staggered grids

Longfei Gao, Omar Ghattas, David E. Keyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We present an approach to simulate the 3D isotropic elastic wave propagation using nonuniform finite difference discretization on staggered grids. Specifically, we consider simulation domains composed of layers of uniform grids with different grid spacings, separated by nonconforming interfaces. We demonstrate that this layer-wise finite difference discretization has the potential to significantly reduce the simulation cost, compared to its fully uniform counterpart, by more than an order of magnitude on geophysically representative 3D problems. Stability of such a discretization is achieved by using specially designed operators, which are variants of the standard finite difference operators with adaptations near boundaries or interfaces, and penalty terms, which are appended to the discretized wave system to weakly impose boundary or interface conditions. Combined with specially designed interpolation operators, the discretized wave system is shown to preserve the energy conserving property of the continuous elastic wave equation, and a fortiori ensure the stability of the simulation. Numerical examples are presented to demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed simulation approach
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-79
Number of pages79
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 29 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-04-20
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2019-CCF-3666.4
Acknowledgements: The authors thank the editors and referees for carefully reviewing this article and providing valuable suggestions. This research used resources of the Core Labs of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). This research was funded by KAUST award OSR-2019-CCF-3666.4 and U.S. National Science Foundation Frontera award 2033468.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics


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