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Technical Committee Earth Sciences

Estimation of Spatial Uncertainties of Tomographic Velocity Models

This research project aims to evaluate the possibility of assessing the spatial uncertainties in tomographic velocity model building in a quantitative way. The project is intended to serve as a test of whether accurate and specific uncertainty estimates (e.g., in meters) can be obtained. The project is based on Monte Carlo-type perturbations of the velocity model as obtained from the tomographic inversion guided by diagonal and off-diagonal elements of the resolution and the covariance matrices. The implementation and testing of this method was based on the SINTEF in-house stereotomography code, using small synthetic 2D data sets. To test the method the calculation and output of the covariance and resolution matrices was implemented, and software to perform the error estimation was created.

The work included the creation of 2D synthetic data sets, the implementation and testing of the software to conduct the tests (output of the covariance and resolution matrices which are not implicitly provided by stereotomography), application to synthetic data sets, analysis of the test results, and creating the final report.

The results show that this method can be used to estimate the spatial errors in tomographic images quantitatively. The results agree with the known errors for our synthetic models. However, the method can only be applied to structures in the model, where the change of seismic velocity is larger than the predicted error of the velocity parameter amplitudes. In addition, the analysis is dependent on the tomographic method, e.g., regularization and parameterization.

The conducted tests were very successful and we believe that this method could be developed further to be applied to third party tomographic images.

M. Jordan, Z. Du, E. Querendez
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