New paper out : " Resolution and trade-offs in global anelastic full-waveform inversion"

29 December, 2023

Improving the resolution of seismic anelastic models is critical for a better understanding of the Earth’s subsurface structure and dynamics. Seismic attenuation plays a crucial role in estimating water content, partial melting and temperature variations in the Earth’s crust and mantle. However, compared to seismic wave-speed models, seismic attenuation tomography models tend to be less resolved. This is due to the complexity of amplitude measurements and the challenge of isolating the effect of attenuation in the data from other parameters. Physical dispersion caused by attenuation also affects seismic wave speeds, and neglecting scattering/defocusing effects in classical anelastic models can lead to biased results. To overcome these challenges, it is essential to account for the full 3-D complexity of seismic wave propagation. Although various synthetic tests have been conducted to validate anelastic full-waveform inversion (FWI), there is still a lack of understanding regarding the trade-off between elastic and anelastic parameters, as well as the variable influence of different parameter classes on the data. In this context, we present a synthetic study to explore different strategies for global anelastic inversions.

To assess the resolution and sensitivity for different misfit functions, we first perform mono-parameter inversions by inverting only for attenuation. Then, to study trade-offs between parameters and resolution, we test two different inversion strategies (simultaneous and sequential) to jointly constrain the elastic and anelastic parameters. We found that a sequential inversion strategy performs better for imaging attenuation than a simultaneous inversion. We also demonstrate the dominance of seismic wave speeds over attenuation, underscoring the importance of determining a good approximation of the Hessian matrix and suitable damping factors for each parameter class.