On acoustic waveform tomography of wide-angle OBS data-strategies for pre-conditioning and inversion

R. Kamei, R. G. Pratt, T. Tsuji

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    57 Citations (Scopus)


    We successfully apply the acoustic Laplace-Fourierwaveformtomography method to delineate P-wave velocity structures of themega-splay fault system in the central part of the seismogenic Nankai subduction zone offshore Japan, using densely sampled wide-angle ocean bottom seismograph (OBS) data originally acquired in 2004. Our success is due to new and carefully designed data preconditioning and inversion strategies to mitigate (i) the well-known nonlinearity of waveform inversion, (ii) the challenges arising from crustal-scale survey designs (e.g. undersampling of the OBSs), and (iii) modelling errors due to the use of the acoustic assumption. We identify a sixfold set of key components that together lead to the success of the highresolution waveform tomography image: (i) Availability of low-frequency components (starting at 2.25 Hz) reducing the non-linearity, and access to large offset data (up to 55 km) increasing the depth of illumination and the recovery of low wavenumber components. (ii) A highly accurate traveltime tomography result (with an rms error of approximately 60ms) that further mitigates the non-linearity. (iii) A hierarchical inversion approach in which phase spectra are inverted first to reduce artefacts from the acoustic assumption, and amplitude information is only incorporated in the final stages. (iv) A Laplace-Fourier domain approach that facilitates a multiscale approach to mitigate non-linearity by restricting the inversion to the low frequency components and early arrivals first, and sequentially including higher frequencies and later arrivals. (v) A pre-conditioning strategy for eliminating undesirable high wavenumber components from the the gradient. (vi) A strategy for source estimation that reduce the influence of the instrumental design. In theOBS case study used for illustration purposes, Laplace-Fourierwaveformtomography retrieves velocity anomalies as small as 700m (horizontally) and 350m (vertically) above the top of the Philippine Sea Plate. The resulting velocity structures include low-velocity zones and thrust structures which have not been previously identified clearly. The velocity models are validated by scrutiny of synthetic and observed waveforms, by evaluating the coherency of source estimates, and by comparison with 3-D pre-stack migrated (PreSDM) images. Chequerboard tests and point-scatter tests demonstrate both the reliability and the limitations of the acoustic implementation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1250-1280
    Number of pages31
    JournalGeophysical Journal International
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Geophysics
    • Geochemistry and Petrology


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