Conditioning bounds for traveltime tomography in layered media
Author(s)Baek, Hyoung Su; Demanet, Laurent
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This paper revisits the problem of recovering a smooth, isotropic, layered wave speed profile from surface traveltime information. While it is classic knowledge that the diving (refracted) rays classically determine the wave speed in a weakly well-posed fashion via the Abel transform, we show in this paper that traveltimes of reflected rays do not contain enough information to recover the medium in a well-posed manner, regardless of the discretization. The counterpart of the Abel transform in the case of reflected rays is a Fredholm kernel of the first kind, which is shown to have singular values that decay at least root exponentially. Kinematically equivalent media are characterized in terms of a sequence of matching moments. This severe conditioning issue comes on top of the well-known rearrangement ambiguity due to low-velocity zones. Numerical experiments in an ideal scenario show that a waveform-based model inversion code fits data accurately while converging to the wrong wave speed profile.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mathematics
Baek, H, and L Demanet. “Conditioning bounds for traveltime tomography in layered media.” Inverse Problems 28, no. 5 (May 1, 2012): 055008.
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