Source estimation and uncertainty quantification for wave-equation based seismic imaging and inversion

TitleSource estimation and uncertainty quantification for wave-equation based seismic imaging and inversion
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsZhilong Fang
UniversityThe University of British Columbia
Thesis Typephd
KeywordsFWI, LS-RTM, PhD, source estimation, UQ, WRI

In modern seismic exploration, wave-equation-based inversion and imaging approaches are widely employed for their potential of creating high-resolution subsurface images from seismic data by using the wave equation to describe the underlying physical model of wave propagation. Despite their successful practical applications, some key issues remain unsolved, including local minima, unknown sources, and the largely missing uncertainty analyses for the inversion. This thesis aims to address the following two aspects: to perform the inversion without prior knowledge of sources, and to quantify uncertainties in the inversion. The unknown source can hinder the success of wave-equation-based ap- proaches. A simple time shift in the source can lead to misplaced reflectors in linearized inversions or large disturbances in nonlinear problems. Unfortunately, accurate sources are typically unknown in real problems. The first major contribution of this thesis is, given the fact that the wave equation linearly depends on the sources, I have proposed on-the-fly source estimation techniques for the following wave-equation-based approaches: (1) time-domain sparsity-promoting least-squares reverse-time migration; and (2) wavefield-reconstruction inversion. Considering the linear dependence of the wave equation on the sources, I project out the sources by solving a linear least-squares problem, which enables us to conduct successful wave- equation-based inversions without prior knowledge of the sources. Wave-equation-based approaches also produce uncertainties in the resulting velocity model due to the noisy data, which would influence the subsequent exploration and financial decisions. The difficulties related to practical uncertainty quantification lie in: (1) expensive computation related to wave-equation solves, and (2) the nonlinear parameter-to-data map. The second major contribution of this thesis is the proposal of a computationally feasible Bayesian framework to analyze uncertainties in the resulting velocity models. Through relaxing the wave-equation constraints, I obtain a less nonlinear parameter-to-data map and a posterior distribution that can be adequately approximated by a Gaussian distribution. I derive an implicit formulation to construct the covariance matrix of the Gaussian distribution, which allows us to sample the Gaussian distribution in a computationally efficient manner. I demonstrate that the proposed Bayesian framework can provide adequately accurate uncertainty analyses for intermediate to large- scale problems with an acceptable computational cost.




Citation Keyfang2018THsea