Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
For multivalued traveltime computation on dense grids, we propose a wavefront-orientated ray-tracing (WRT) technique. At the source, we start with a few rays which are propagated stepwise through a smooth two-dimensional (2D) velocity model. The ray field is examined at wavefronts and a new ray might be inserted between two adjacent rays if one of the following criteria is satisfied: (1) the distance between the two rays is larger than a predefined threshold; (2) the difference in wavefront curvature between the rays is larger than a predefined threshold; (3) the adjacent rays intersect. The last two criteria may lead to oversampling by rays in caustic regions. To avoid this oversampling, we do not insert a ray if the distance between adjacent rays is smaller than a predefined threshold. We insert the new ray by tracing it from the source. This approach leads to an improved accuracy compared with the insertion of a new ray by interpolation, which is the method usually applied in wavefront construction. The traveltimes computed along the rays are used for the estimation of traveltimes on a rectangular grid. This estimation is carried out within a region bounded by adjacent wavefronts and rays. As for the insertion criterion, we consider the wavefront curvature and extrapolate the traveltimes, up to the second order, from the intersection points between rays and wavefronts to a gridpoint. The extrapolated values are weighted with respect to the distances to wavefronts and rays. Because dynamic ray tracing is not applied, we approximate the wavefront curvature at a given point using the slowness vector at this point and an adjacent point on the same wavefront. The efficiency of the WRT technique is strongly dependent on the input parameters which control the wavefront and ray densities. On the basis of traveltimes computed in a smoothed Marmousi model, we analyse these dependences and suggest some rules for a correct choice of input parameters. With suitable input parameters, the WRT technique allows an accurate traveltime computation using a small number of rays and wavefronts.
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