Developing and utilizing the wavefield kinematics for efficient wavefield extrapolation

  • Umair bin Waheed

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Natural gas and oil from characteristically complex unconventional reservoirs, such as organic shale, tight gas and oil, coal-bed methane; are transforming the global energy market. These conventional reserves exist in complex geologic formations where conventional seismic techniques have been challenged to successfully image the subsurface. To acquire maximum benefits from these unconventional reserves, seismic anisotropy must be at the center of our modeling and inversion workflows. I present algorithms for fast traveltime computations in anisotropic media. Both ray-based and finite-difference solvers of the anisotropic eikonal equation are developed. The proposed algorithms present novel techniques to obtain accurate traveltime solutions for anisotropic media in a cost-efficient manner. The traveltime computation algorithms are then used to invert for anisotropy parameters. Specifically, I develop inversion techniques by using diffractions and diving waves in the seismic data. The diffraction-based inversion algorithm can be combined with an isotropic full-waveform inversion (FWI) method to obtain a high-resolution model for the anellipticity anisotropy parameter. The inversion algorithm based on diving waves is useful for building initial anisotropic models for depth-migration and FWI. I also develop the idea of 'effective elliptic models' for obtaining solutions of the anisotropic two-way wave equation. The proposed technique offers a viable alternative for wavefield computations in anisotropic media using a computationally cheaper wave propagation operator. The methods developed in the thesis lead to a direct cost savings for imaging and inversion projects, in addition to a reduction in turn-around time. With an eye on the next generation inversion methods, these techniques allow us to incorporate more accurate physics into our modeling and inversion framework.
Date of AwardAug 2015
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorTariq Ali Alkhalifah (Supervisor)


  • Anisotropy
  • seismic modeling
  • Seismic Inversion
  • Wavefield
  • inaveltime
  • Ray Tracing

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