Study on the limitations of travel-time inversion applied to sub-basalt imaging
The difficulties of seismic imaging beneath high velocity structures are widely recognised. In this setting, theoretical analysis of synthetic wide-angle seismic reflection data indicates that velocity models are not well constrained. A two-dimensional velocity model was built to simulate a simplified structural geometry given by a basaltic wedge placed within a sedimentary sequence. This model reproduces the geological setting in areas of special interest for the oil industry as the Faroe-Shetland Basin. A wide-angle synthetic dataset was calculated on this model using an elastic finite difference scheme. This dataset provided travel times for tomographic inversions. Results show that the original model can not be completely resolved without considering additional information. The resolution of nonlinear inversions lacks a functional mathematical relationship, therefore, statistical approaches are required. Stochastic tests based on Metropolis techniques support the need of additional information to properly resolve sub-basalt structures.