- © 2016 by The Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Full-waveform inversion (FWI) in seismic scenarios continues to be a complex procedure for subsurface imaging that might require extensive human interaction in terms of model setup, constraints, and data preconditioning. The underlying reason is the strong nonlinearity of the problem that forces the addition of a priori knowledge (or bias) in order to obtain geologically sound results. In particular, when the use of a long-offset receiver is not possible or may not favor the reconstruction of the fine structure of the model, one needs to rely on reflection data. As a consequence, the inversion process is more prone to becoming stuck in local minima. Nevertheless, misfit functionals can be devised that can either cope with missing long-wavenumber features of initial models (e.g., cross-correlation-based misfit) or invert reflection-dominated data whenever the models are sufficiently good (e.g., normalized offset-limited least-squares misfit). By combining both, high-frequency data content with poor initial models can be successfully inverted. If one can figure out simple parameterizations for such functionals, the amount of uncertainty and manual work related to tuning FWI would be substantially reduced. Thus, FWI might become a semiautomatized imaging tool.