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Appendix 1
Comments on A brief study of the
generalized reciprocal method and
some of the limitations of the
method by Bengt Sjgren.
A.1 - Introduction
Despite the implications of the title, Sjgren (2000) is essentially a rejection of the
generalized reciprocal method (GRM). It is clear that there are very few aspects
of the GRM, which Sjgren finds acceptable, if in fact there are any at all.
I consider that most of the substance of his critique of the GRM is either wrong or
ill informed, while other aspects are simply matters of opinion. A thorough
response to his paper would be quite lengthy and somewhat technical, and so I
will restrict my response to three main issues only. They are the following:
1. Do we always need to define all layers above the target refractor, or are there
situations where the use of an average wavespeed is more appropriate? I
accept that Sjogrens re-interpreted depth sections for the two case histories
provide a better estimate of total depths across the complete profiles. However,
the original depth sections in Palmer (1991) generated with the average
wavespeeds are appropriate to the objectives of each case history and to those
of the paper as discussed in the third issue.
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2. There are no fundamental mathematical differences between the GRM and
the collection of methods used by Sjgren. From both an assessment of his
descriptions of the various methods and an examination of some of his figures, it
is clear that both approaches generate essentially the same processed data, and
that his mean-minus-T method is identical to the wavespeed analysis function of
the GRM. The main differences are found in how the processed data are
interpreted. The GRM provides a systematic and objective framework, whereas
in my opinion, Sjgren's approach is neither consistent nor objective.
3. Sjgren has not addressed the fundamental aims of Palmer (1991), namely
the demonstration of an objective approach for recognizing and defining narrow
zones with low wavespeeds in the refractor. Sjogrens approach is not
systematic and it frequently relies on personal judgment, and as a consequence,
it can result in the generation of artifacts, such as those shown in Sjgren (2000,
Fig. 5(a)).
A.2 - The Use of Average Wavespeeds
Sjogrens assertion of the need to define all layers in geotechnical investigations
rather than use an average wavespeed, is not cognizant of the objectives of each
field study in Palmer (1991). In the case of the collapsed doline, the objective
was to determine its depth. Drilling had not been completely successful because
the loss of circulation in the rubble had stopped progress at depths of about 50 m
and before solid rock was encountered. Therefore, the issue is not whether
Sjogrens detailed layer by layer approach is more useful than the average
wavespeed approach, but rather why both approaches, which give much the
same maximum depths of about 15 m, are clearly at variance with the drilling.
Irrespective of which interpretation approach is used, it is obvious that the
original objectives have not been achieved, that the refraction method is
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inappropriate for solving the problem, and that the differences in depth
computations between stations 56 and 71 are peripheral to the survey objectives.
Furthermore, Sjogrens reasoning for his rejection of my explanation that the
refracted energy propagates around rather than under the doline is convoluted,
not convincing and ignores the implications of a genuine three-dimensional
structure.
The second case history was across a fault. An earlier high-resolution reflection
survey had been carried out in order to test whether the method was efficacious
in detecting known faulting in the underlying coal seams. These results were
poor, possible due to the proximity of the line to a busy road and the use of small
explosive charges. The refraction survey was then carried out in order to
generate a more accurate set of statics corrections. The component of the
statics corrections, which effectively replaces the weathered layer with
unweathered material prior to the application of the elevation component, was
generated with the approach described in Dobrin (1976, p.215), Palmer (1995),
and Palmer et al (2000). This method simply scales the time-depths by a factor
which is a function of the average wavespeed in the weathering and the
wavespeed in the refractor.
Therefore, while I accept that Sjogrens depth computations may be more
appropriate to many types of geotechnical investigations, the use of average
wavespeeds in Palmer (1991) was entirely compatible with the aims of both the
field studies and the paper. Furthermore, the differences in total depths between
Palmer (1991) and Sjogren (2000) do not alter the major conclusions of the
paper with respect to the study of narrow zones with low wavespeeds.
In Palmer (1981, 1992, 2000a, 2000b) I demonstrate the use of the average
wavespeed in accommodating undetected layers, wavespeed reversals and
transverse isotropy. At present, there are no other published approaches to
solving these problems which are commonly encountered in many parts of the
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world, especially those with deep regoliths. Furthermore, Sjogren appears to
have overlooked other case studies (Palmer, 1980) in which the GRM has
effectively defined all layers above the target refractor.
A.3 - The Similarities Between The GRM and Sjogrens Approach
Sjogren's indication that he does not accept the usefulness of this average
wavespeed is surprising, especially since he also uses an average overburden
wavespeed with Hales' method where there are multiple layers (Sjogren, 2000,
p.819). In that same paragraph, he also describes varying the XY distances, in a
manner analogous to the GRM. It is clear that there are many similarities
between the two average wavespeeds, but that the GRM has extended the
concept to include several important benefits such as the ability to accommodate
undetected layers, as well as minor differences in the interpretation of the
traveltime graphs. Even though Sjogren has emphasized such differences, there
are only minor differences in depth computations between Palmer (1991) and
Sjogren (2000) at the points where the average wavespeeds were determined.
While, it is acknowledged that the accuracy of the average wavespeed can be
reduced with distance from the point of computation, this is not necessarily a
problem, as was the case with the two field studies.
Furthermore, the similarities extend beyond the average wavespeeds. In Palmer
(1986), I describe Hales method and conclude that fundamentally, it is very
similar to the GRM. The similarities are that both methods obtain a measure of
the depth to the refracting interface in units of time through the addition of
forward and reverse traveltimes, and a measure of the wavespeeds in the
refractor from the differencing of the same forward and reverse traveltimes. The
equations describing these two operations for each method are virtually identical.
Furthermore, both methods employ refraction migration in order to accommodate
the offset distance, which is the horizontal distance between the point of
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refraction on the interface and the point of detection at the surface. The major
difference between the two methods is that Hales method achieves the addition,
subtraction and migration with a graphical approach, while the GRM performs
these same operations arithmetically with the scalar traveltimes prior to their
graphical presentation.
Sjogrens determination of refractor wavespeed in the main refractor begins with
a version of the ABC method, which is a special case of the GRM with a zero XY
spacing. In the first case history but not the second, he then applies what is
clearly another version of the GRM wavespeed analysis algorithms with finite XY
values. Sjogren (2000, p.825) refers to curves 1 and 2 in his Fig. 4 as having
been computed with migrations of 5 m and 7.5 m. These curves bear a
remarkable resemblance to those computed with the GRM with similar XY values
in Palmer (1991, Fig.16). The minor differences are due to Sjogrens editing of
the traveltime data. He then applies yet another method, namely Hales method,
to further refine his wavespeed determinations.
Accordingly, Sjogrens approach with a number of methods and my approach
with the GRM are essentially generating the same set of computations for the
determination of refractor wavespeeds. Where Sjogren uses a succession of
different techniques, all of which employ addition and subtraction of forward and
reverse traveltimes, together with accommodation of the offset distance with
migration, the GRM achieves the same results within a single presentation, such
as in Palmer (1991, Fig.16).
Are the differences between Sjogrens approach and the GRM important? An
examination of the wavespeed analysis function in Palmer (1991, Fig.16), reveals
that the graph for an XY value of 5 m has intervals of steeper gradient which
would correspond with lower wavespeeds, and which occur over the same
intervals with low wavespeeds shown in Sjogren (2000, Fig 5(a)). Therefore,
where Sjogren interprets virtually every change in slope in a single graph as
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evidence of a lateral change in wavespeed, I have concluded that there is
insufficient evidence for the existence of those intervals. This conclusion is
based on an assessment of all of the graphs in Palmer (1991, Fig. 16), and the
recognition of systematic changes in patterns, rather than the detailed
interpretation of a single graph.
The issue then, is whether the approach of Palmer (1991) under-interprets the
data and therefore overlooks intervals with low wavespeeds, or whether Sjogren
(2000) over-interprets the data and generates artifacts which do not really exist.
The issue is important because such features can be very significant in most
geotechnical, groundwater and environmental applications.
A.4 - Recognizing And Defining Narrow Zones With Low
Wavespeeds In Refractors
This difference between the two approaches introduces the fundamental
question which Palmer (1991) seeks to address. Is there an objective and
systematic approach, which is independent of individual interpretation styles, for
recognizing and defining narrow zones with low wavespeeds in refractors?
At the present time, I am still largely of the opinion that most narrow zones with
low wavespeeds are simply artifacts of the inversion algorithms and individual
interpretation styles. I have several reasons for holding this view.
1. Numerous model studies have shown that the algorithms which seek to
determine the wavespeeds in the refractor through the differencing of forward
and reverse traveltimes, can readily produce narrow zones with alternating high
and low wavespeeds, where there are significant changes in depths to the
refractor. This pattern can be seen for example, in the vicinity of the doline in
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Sjogren (2000, Fig. 5(a)), and it immediately raises doubts about the veracity of
the lateral changes in wavespeed.
2. The traveltime differences through these zones are small, and frequently they
are within the acceptable errors of the data, commonly plus or minus one
millisecond. For example, in Palmer (1991, Fig. 16), the differences between the
computed points and the line representing the fitted wavespeed function are
generally less than a millisecond for the optimum XY value of 5m. (Also see Fig.
2 to be discussed later.) I question whether any minor changes in slope are
statistically significant.
3. The issue is not resolved with forward modeling with either ray tracing or the
eikonal equation which are employed, for example, with tomographic and other
model-based methods of inversion. The GRM is able to generate a family of
geologically acceptable starting models in which the wavespeeds range from low
to high in narrow zones (Palmer, 2000c; 2000d) and which essentially satisfy the
original traveltime data (Palmer, 1980, p.49-52; 1986, p.106-107) to better than a
millisecond. This is simply another statement of the fundamental problem of non-
uniqueness with all inversion processes (Oldenburg, 1984; Treitel and Lines,
1988), but it is rarely if ever, addressed satisfactorily with refraction methods.
Therefore all of the refractor wavespeed models generated with different XY
spacings in Palmer (1991, Fig. 16), satisfy the traveltime data. Although some of
these can be rejected on simple geological grounds, such as those with negative
wavespeeds which obviously are not geologically realizable, there still remains a
range of models which fit the data to an acceptable accuracy.
Therefore, while I accept that Sjogren has a methodology for determining
wavespeeds in his Figures 1, 2, 4 and 7, I do not accept that he has addressed
the fundamental issues of non-uniqueness, that is of recognizing the artifact from
the real. I consider his approach relies heavily on his familiarity with Hales
method and modified versions of the ABC method which include a migration
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process identical to the GRM, and that there is a significant subjective
component. Furthermore, his approach is poorly explained and the use of
different interpretation methods in a non-systematic manner is confusing.
Accordingly, I do not accept that he has demonstrated he has an objective
approach, or that there are narrow zones with low wavespeeds in the refractor in
Figure 5(a).
Sjogren's non-systematic approach can also be demonstrated with the model
data. Sjogren (2000, Fig. 2) changes the inclinations of the slope lines in the
Hales time loop on the basis of the wavespeeds derived from curve 1 for which
the XY value is zero, in order to improve the resolution of the narrow zone with
the low wavespeed. If that approach were to be employed with the first model
(Palmer, 1991, Fig. 2), using the wavespeed analyses for zero XY shown in
Palmer (1991, Fig. 5), then artifacts with both high and low wavespeeds at the
sloping interface, would be generated.
A.5 - Use Of Alternative Presentations And Amplitudes For
Determining Wavespeeds In Refractors
In Palmer (1991), I present a systematic and objective criterion, generally known
as minimum variance. It is clear that an important aspect of this approach is to
determine a gross model of the refractor wavespeeds, and then to systematically
fit this model as has been done in Palmer (1991, Fig. 16). This is usually an
iterative process, simply because it is difficult to obtain the correct wavespeeds at
the first attempt. It can be somewhat challenging because of the need to
recognize the pattern of the departure of the computed points from the fitted line
as shown in Palmer (1991, Fig. 5), while at the same time accommodating the
normal errors in field data.
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Recently, I have been experimenting with averaging the wavespeed analysis
function for a range of XY values which range from less than to greater than the
optimum value, with the range of XY values being symmetrical about the
optimum, in order to derive a gross wavespeed model. This process minimizes
many of the apparent changes in wavespeeds due to structure where there are
no narrow lateral changes in wavespeed such as is shown in Palmer (1991, Fig.
5), and it averages many of the errors in picking traveltimes.
Figure 1. Refractor wavespeed analysis function, averaged for XY values from
zero to 10 m.
Using the traveltime data for the doline field study, Figure 1 shows a graph in
which the points computed with the wavespeed analysis function for XY values
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between zero and 10 m have been averaged. While Figure 1 risks introducing
yet another model of the refractor wavespeeds, namely about 2150 m/s between
stations 39 and 58, and about 3240 m/s elsewhere, there is no indication of any
narrow zones with low wavespeeds.
Figure 2. Differences between the averaged refractor wavespeed analysis
function in Figure 1, and the individual refractor wavespeed analysis functions for
XY values from zero to 10 m.
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Figure 2 shows the differences between the average and the computed
wavespeed analysis function for XY values between zero and 10 m. The
patterns of these differences are also consistent with there being no narrow
zones with low wavespeeds. The minimum differences occur for an XY value of
5 m, they are essentially random, and they are generally less than a millisecond.
Figure 3. Amplitudes of the forward and reverse offset shots.
I have also been investigating the use of amplitudes as an additional approach to
addressing this fundamental problem of non-uniqueness. In Palmer (2000e,
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2000f), I demonstrate that the amplitude of the refracted head wave, after
correction for geometrical spreading and refractor dip with either convolution or
multiplication, is essentially a function of the head coefficient. I further
demonstrate that the head coefficient is approximately proportional to the ratio of
the specific acoustic impedances (which is the product of the wavespeed and
density) in the overburden to that in the refractor. Therefore, arrivals from zones
in the refractor with low wavespeeds should exhibit high amplitudes, and vice
versa.
The amplitudes for the shot records are shown in Figure 3. For the shot at
station 1, the amplitudes shown a strong decay between stations 24 and 40,
which is interpreted as the geometric effect, together with an interval with
extremely low amplitudes between stations 46 and 59. The amplitudes for the
reverse shot at station 97 show a much less pronounced geometric effect, but
again there is an interval with very low amplitudes between stations 38 and 44.
These very low amplitudes were a major limitation on the measurement of
accurate and consistent traveltimes.
There are very few model studies on the effects of structure on the refraction
amplitudes. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the very low amplitudes are
compatible with the simple refraction of energy from under the survey profile, but
rather with some form of scattering. They are compatible with energy
propagating around the doline and being scattered back to the surface through
the highly attenuating medium of the rubble in the collapsed doline, as has been
proposed in Palmer (1991).
Figure 4 shows the product of the amplitudes computed with an XY separation of
5 m. The results can be broadly separated into three regions which correspond
approximately with those recognized in Figure 1 with the wavespeed analysis
function. They include high values between stations 24 and 37, very low values
between stations 37 and 59, and higher values between stations 59 and 71. The
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lower values between stations 37 and 59 suggest higher rather than lower
wavespeeds. The slightly higher values between stations 37 and 42 suggest
lower wavespeeds, but do not correlate with those determined by Sjogren (2000,
Fig5(a)). However, these results should be used with considerable caution
because of the severe attenuation of seismic energy within the rubble of the
collapsed structure, and because the feature is three-dimensional.
Figure 4. Product of the forward and reverse shot amplitudes shown in Figure 3
with an XY value of 5m in arbitrary units.
Therefore, it seems probable that there are no narrow zones with low
wavespeeds associated with the collapsed doline and that Sjogren has
generated artifacts through an over-interpretation of the processed data.
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A.6 - A Systematic Approach With The GRM
In summary, Sjogren concludes that the GRM must be regarded as being of
limited use for detailed and accurate interpretations of refraction seismics for
engineering purposes. This conclusion is surprising given the very close
similarities between the GRM, Hales and the mean-minus-T methods, the latter
two of which he clearly favours. The fact that key features of his figures bear a
remarkable resemblance to parts of the GRM presentations emphasizes the
essential similarities between the two approaches. Instead, he has sought
differences where none really exist, and as a corollary, he has not recognized
similarities where in reality there are many. On the basis of the fundamental
similarities between the GRM and Sjogren's processed data, I conclude that
Sjogren (2000) is more a demonstration of his interpretation style and experience
using a collection of methods rather than a cohesive assessment of the GRM.
However, his approach is neither systematic nor entirely objective, and as a
result it is prone to the generation of artifacts.
It seems that the aim of his paper is to emphasize minor differences, mainly in
the assignment of layers to the traveltime graphs, and then to illogically imply
fundamental shortcomings of the GRM. As such, his paper lacks balance and
objectivity, and it is more in keeping with seeking a conviction in an adversarial
court system than with a scientific journal.
Sjogren (2000) has produced nothing of substance which requires any
fundamental re-assessment of the main features of the GRM in general, or of
Palmer (1991), in particular. He has not satisfactorily addressed the aims of
Palmer (1991), namely an objective method for the recognition and definition of
narrow zones with low wavespeeds. His conclusion that the GRM is unsuitable
for geotechnical applications is not substantiated, and it is based on an
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incomplete understanding of the GRM and of Palmer (1991), rather than any
genuine shortcomings with the method.
A.7 - The Need To Promote Innovation In Shallow Refraction
Seismology
Sjogrens rejection of the GRM as a useful method for processing and
interpreting shallow seismic refraction data, does little to encourage others to
present new approaches through fear of biased criticism. It is irresponsible and
does not advance the science through balanced and objective debate. In the last
fifty years, innovation in shallow refraction seismology has been rather modest at
best and it has focused predominantly on the various competing methods for
inverting field data. Until there is widespread consensus through a recognition of
fundamental similarities between these inversion methods, there will be little
advancement in other equally important aspects of the science. By comparison,
reflection seismology has achieved major advances through the development of
common midpoint methods, digital signal processing, three-dimensional methods
and sophisticated computer interpretation programs, over the same period of
time. It is now time to move on to the refraction techniques which will be
appropriate to the requirements and the technology of the new millennium.
In Palmer (2000g), I demonstrate the generation of the refraction convolution
section (RCS) through the convolution of forward and reverse traces. The
addition of the traveltimes with convolution is equivalent to that achieved
graphically with Hales method and arithmetically with the GRM. The RCS
facilitates full trace processing of seismic refraction data and in turn, the
examination of many important issues such as signal-to-noise ratios, amplitude
statics, 3D refraction methods and azimuthal anisotropy, signal processing to
enhance second and later events and stacking data in a manner similar to CMP
reflection methods. A major advantage of the RCS is that it incorporates
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amplitudes and time structure within a single presentation, facilitating the
resolution of many of the non-uniqueness issues discussed here. It is extremely
rapid and suitable for use with any volume of data, and therefore it can be readily
included in the processing of refraction data with any method.
The RCS is a new approach to obtaining more and better information from
shallow seismic refraction data, and in time it may even supercede the GRM as
well as Hales method. However, that possibility can only occur if there is a shift
in culture from one of conflict and an emphasis on minor differences to one of
consensus and an emphasis on fundamental similarities which traditionally, has
characterized the scientific method.
Sjogrens critique of the GRM does not seek the consensus essential for the
advancement of the science of shallow refraction seismology. Regrettably, it is
neither balanced nor objective, it shows minimal insight into the fundamental
similarities of most methods of refraction inversion, it does not provide an
alternative systematic approach to refraction interpretation, it does not address
the important issues of non-uniqueness, and it does not provide a vision for
future innovation.
A.8 - References
Dobrin, M. B., 1976, Introduction to geophysical prospecting, 3rd edition:
McGraw-Hill Inc.
Oldenburg, D. W., 1984, An introduction to linear inverse theory: Transactions
IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing, GE-22(6), 666.
Palmer, D., 1980, The generalized reciprocal method of seismic refraction
interpretation: Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
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Palmer, D., 1981, An introduction to the generalized reciprocal method of seismic
refraction interpretation: Geophysics 46, 1508-1518
Palmer, D., 1986, Refraction seismics: the lateral resolution of structure and
seismic velocity: Geophysical Press.
Palmer, D., 1991, The resolution of narrow low-velocity zones with the
generalized reciprocal method: Geophysical Prospecting 39, 1031-1060.
Palmer, D, 1992, Is forward modeling as efficacious as minimum variance for
refraction inversion?: Exploration Geophysics, 23, 261-266, 521.
Palmer, D., 1995, Can linear inversion achieve detailed refraction statics?:
Exploration Geophysics, 26, 506-511.
Palmer, D., Goleby, B., and Drummond, B., 2000a, The effects of spatial
sampling on refraction statics: Exploration Geophysics, 31, 270-274.
Palmer, D., 2000a, Model determination for refraction inversion: submitted.
Palmer, D., 2000b, The measurement of weak anisotropy with the generalized
reciprocal method: Geophysics, 65, 1583-1591.
Palmer, D., 2000c, Can amplitudes resolve ambiguities in refraction inversion?:
Exploration Geophysics 31, 304-309.
Palmer, D., 2000d, Starting models for refraction inversion: submitted.
Palmer, D., 2000e, Imaging refractors with the convolution section: Geophysics,
in press.
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Palmer, D., 2000f, Resolving refractor ambiguities with amplitudes: Geophysics,
in press.
Palmer, D, 2000g, Digital processing of shallow seismic refraction data with the
refraction convolution section, PhD thesis, UNSW, submitted.
Sjogren, B., 2000, A brief study of the generalized reciprocal method and of
some limitations of the method: Geophysical Prospecting 48, 815-834.
Treitel, S., and Lines, L., 1988, Geophysical examples of inversion (with a grain
of salt): The Leading Edge 7, 32-35.
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Appendix 2
Model Determination For Refraction
Inversion
A.1 - Summary
In recent years, tomography or model-based inversion, has been used to
construct a model of the subsurface from seismic refraction data, mainly to
determine statics corrections for reflection data. With these methods, the
parameters of a model of the subsurface are refined by comparing the
traveltimes of the model with the field data. When the differences between the
computed and field traveltimes are a minimum, the model and parameters are
taken as an accurate representation of the wavespeeds in the subsurface.
In this study I demonstrate the sensitivity of model-based inversion to the
selection of the inversion model, using eleven geological models. In general, the
residuals between the original and modeled traveltimes are better than 0.4%,
indicating that virtually any model can be fitted to the data with high accuracy.
However, the errors in depth computations are between 5% and 10% for simple
monotonic increases of wavespeed with depth. For other models such as a
reversal in wavespeed, the errors are indeterminate, but much larger. The depth
errors are least when the inversion model and the original geological model are
similar, and greatest when the models are different.
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I also determine the parameters for the same eleven inversion models with the
generalized reciprocal method (GRM). With the GRM, the parameters of each
model are constrained with the optimum XY value. The errors in depth
computations are generally about one third of those for the equivalent model-
based case. Furthermore, the GRM is able to produce reasonable results with
the wavespeed reversal and transverse isotropy models, unlike the model-based
methods. However, the residuals between the direct traveltimes for the inversion
model and the original geological model are up to a factor of four greater than
with the equivalent model-based case. The residuals are least when the models
are similar, and greatest when the models are different.
The GRM determines model parameters by interpolation with the optimum XY
value. This parameter is determined from the refracted traveltimes from the
underlying layer, and therefore it is a function of all wavespeeds and thicknesses
in the overlying layer(s). By contrast, the model-based methods determine the
model parameters from the direct traveltimes from the upper part of the layer(s),
and then extrapolate those parameters throughout the remainder of the layer(s)
I conclude that suitable starting models for tomographic or model-based
inversion have parameters which are determined with optimum XY values, and
which have minimum residuals between the field and modeled traveltimes of the
direct arrivals.
A.2 - Introduction
In recent years, model-based inversion or tomography, has been used to process
seismic refraction data, often to determine statics corrections for reflection data
(Zhu et al., 1992). With these methods, the parameters of a model of the
subsurface are refined by comparing the traveltimes of the model with the field
data. When the differences between the computed and field traveltimes are a
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minimum, the model and parameters are taken as an accurate representation of
the wavespeeds in the subsurface.
While the performance of refraction tomography has been continually improved
through more efficient inversion and forward modeling routines, (see Zhang and
Toksoz, 1998 for an overview of these advances), one issue, which has yet to
receive widespread attention, is the choice of the model for the inversion
process. This situation is not surprising, since the role of model-based inversion
is to provide information about the unknown numerical parameters which go into
the model, not to provide the model itself (Menke, 1989, p3).
Perhaps the most common model has been the linear increase of wavespeed
with depth (Zhu et al.,1992; Stefani, 1995; Miller et al., 1998; Lanz et al., 1998),
possibly because of mathematical convenience. However, this model is of
questionable validity as most theoretical (Iida, 1939; Gassman, 1951, 1953;
Brandt, 1955; Paterson, 1956; Berry1959), laboratory (Birch, 1960; Wyllie et al.,
1956, 1958), and field studies (Faust, 1951, 1953; White and Sengbush, 1953;
Acheson, 1963, 1981; Hall, 1970; Hamilton, 1970, 1971; Jankowsky, 1970),
suggest a more gentle increase for clastic sediments, such as a one sixth power
of depth function.
Furthermore, the gradients obtained range from 0.342 and 2.5 m/s per metre
(Stefani, 1995), and 2.68 and 4.67 m/s per metre (Zhu et al., 1992), to as high as
40 m/s per metre (Lanz et al, 1998). These values are generally larger than
those applicable to the compaction of clastic sediments (Dobrin, 1976), but they
are rarely justified on geological or petrophysical grounds.
The combination of the linear increase of wavespeed with depth and the high
gradients probably contributes to instability in the inversion process. The
example of the somewhat paradoxical situation of the poor determination of
wavespeeds in the refractor, despite the fact that over 90% of traveltimes are
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from that layer (Lanz et al., 1998), is at variance with the experiences of most
seismologists using more traditional methods of refraction processing.
In this study, I demonstrate the effects of the choice of the model on refraction
inversion using both the model-based approach and the generalized reciprocal
method (GRM), (Palmer, 1980, 1986). With the model-based approach, I show
that a range of models can be fitted to noise-free traveltime data with acceptable
accuracy, but that there is a wide range in the depths computed to the main
refractor. However, the accuracy of depth computations improves as the
inversion model approaches the subsurface or geological model. In addition,
only a limited number of models can be examined with model-based methods of
inversion.
With the GRM approach, I show that a wider range of models can be addressed,
with generally greater accuracies in depth computations. However, in contrast
with the methods of model-based inversion, the agreement with the traveltime
data is usually much poorer.
I conclude that the appropriate starting model for tomographic inversion is one for
which the depths are similar to those obtained with the GRM, and for which the
field and model traveltimes agree.
A.3 - Model and Inversion Strategies
The model of the subsurface used in this study is shown in Figure A.1, and
consists of two layers with the upper layer having a parabolic variation in
wavespeed with depth, viz.
V(z) = 1750(1 + 0.001 z)

(A.1)
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where V(z) is the wavespeed and z is the depth. The rate of increase of the
wavespeed is 0.875 m/s per metre at the surface, while the average is about
0.73 m/s per metre over a depth of 1000m. These values are comparable with
those caused by compaction of clastic sediments (Dobrin, 1976). The parabolic
wavespeed function is a compromise between the more commonly used linear
wavespeed function and the theoretically derived function which is a one sixth
power of depth.
Figure A.1: Two layer model for which the traveltime data shown in Figure A.2
were computed. The seismic wavespeed in the upper layer is a parabolic
function of depth.
The depth to the refractor changes from 750m to 1000m over a horizontal
distance of 500m, and the wavespeed in the refractor is 5000 m/s.
The traveltimes are shown in Figure 2, and are taken from Palmer (1986).
In this study, I examine the fundamental issue of what is the appropriate model
for the wavespeed of the first layer, given that the traveltime data indicate that
there are two layers with a single interface. I approximate the wavespeed in the
first layer with eleven inversion models. They are the constant wavespeed model,
221
the two layer model, including a reversal in wavespeed, the Evjen function, and
transverse isotropy.
Figure A.2: Traveltime data for the model shown in Figure A.1. The direct
arrivals from the shot points at 2400m and 4800m penetrate 85m for a range of
1200m and 300m for a range of 2400m.
In the model-based approach, I determine the wavespeed stratification in the
layers above the refractor from the direct arrivals from those layers. I derive the
parameters for each model from the traveltime graphs for the one and two layer
models, by iteratively adjusting for the Evjen models until the traveltimes for the
222
data and the model agree, or simply by arbitrarily selecting wavespeeds for the
wavespeed reversal and the transverse isotropy models.
With the GRM approach, I determine the wavespeeds in the layers above the
refractor using the optimum XY value, which I derive with the traveltimes from the
refractor. The optimum XY value is determined in the following way.
The refractor wavespeed analysis function t
V
, is given by equation A.2, viz.
t
V
= (t
forward
- t
reverse
}+ t
reciprocal
)/ 2 (A.2)
Equation A.2 was evaluated for a range of XY values, which is the separation
between the detectors at which the forward and reverse traveltimes are recorded,
from 500 m to 1150 m.
I describe the method of determining optimum XY values in some detail
elsewhere (Palmer, 1991). Essentially, the procedure involves the determination
of the overall trends of the wavespeed analysis function, from which the refractor
wavespeed is derived, and then the deviations from those trends, from which the
optimum XY value is obtained. In this study, I use averaging to obtain the
wavespeed in the refractor, and then differencing to obtain the optimum XY
value.
Figure A.3 shows the average of the refractor wavespeed analysis function
computed at each location for the full range of XY values from 500 m to 1150 m.
The reciprocal of the gradient of this function is the refractor wavespeed V
n
, viz.
5046 m/s. This value is higher than the true value for the model of 5000 m/s, and
is the result of the non-planar refractor interface. A correction for dip (Palmer,
1980, equation 9), when the refractor interface is approximated with a planar
interface with an average dip of about six degrees (tan
-1
(250/2400)), improves
the wavespeed estimate to 5018 m/s.
223
Figure A.3: The averaged wavespeed analysis function, computed for the range
of XY values from 500 m to 1150 m in increments of 50 m, the station spacing.
The reciprocal of the gradient of this function is the wavespeed in the refractor,
namely 5046 m/s.
Figure A.4 presents the differences between the computed values of t
V
for a
selected range of XY values and the averaged values. A visual inspection
indicates that the average optimum XY value is 800 m, because the differences
are the closest to zero. This value is consistent with the values of 700 m and 950
m for each side of the model obtained with a more detailed analysis, (Palmer,
1986).
224
Figure A.4: The differences between the wavespeed analysis function
computed for the range of XY values from 650 m to 1000 m, and the averaged
values shown in Figure A.3. The values for an XY value of 800 m are assessed
as being closest to zero, thereby indicating that the optimum XY value is 800m.
225
Depths for both the model-based inversion and GRM approaches are computed
from the time-depths, t
G
, where
t
G
= (t
forward
+ t
reverse
- t
reciprocal
XY / V
n
)/2 (A.3)
The reciprocal time is the traveltime between the two shot points.
As the term implies, the time-depth is a measure of the depth to the refracting
interface in units of time. It is analogous to the one-way reflection time, and it is
often, but incorrectly identified with the delay time. The time-depth is, in fact, an
average of the forward and reverse delay times.
The time-depths range from 342 ms to 429 ms, which correspond to the
horizontal sections of the interface. The average value used in the GRM
calculations is 384 ms.
The time-depth is related to the depth z
G
, by:
z
G
= t
G
DCF (A.4)
where the DCF, the depth conversion factor relating the time-depth and the
depth, is given by:
DCF = V V
n
/ (V
n
2
- V
2
)

(A.5)
or
DCF = V / cos i (A.6)
where V is the average wavespeed above the refractor and
sin i = V / V
n
(A.7)
226
Figure A.5: The difference in traveltimes between the original data and the
modeled response for the single layer with a constant wavespeed inversion
model, for the model-based and GRM approaches.
A.4 - Single Layer Constant Wavespeed Inversion Model
The simplest model has a single layer with a constant wavespeed above the
refractor. As the traveltime graphs with the shot points at distances 2400 m and
4800 m show some curvature, the fitting of one straight line is easily recognized
as an approximation. However, for completeness with the model-based
approach, I use a line which passes through the origin and through the graph at a
traveltime of 1103ms and at a distance of 2000m from the shot point, to obtain an
227
average wavespeed of 1813 m/s. The differences in the traveltimes for the data
and the constant wavespeed model range from -16 ms to 19 ms, and are shown
in Figure A.5. These residuals are comparable to those obtained by Stefani
(1995) with the Tibalier Trench data which is at approximately the same depth.
Accordingly, I view the fit between the computed and original data as acceptable.
Figure A.6: Unmigrated depth sections for the single layer with a constant
wavespeed inversion model, for the model-based and GRM approaches.
The depths computed with this wavespeed are shown in Figure A.6, and they
have been plotted vertically, rather than orthogonally to the refractor interface.
228
An additional step, equivalent to the migration operation of reflection data, is
required to accurately image the refractor interface (Palmer, 1986, p.196-198).
The depths computed over the horizontal sections of the refractor are 659.4m
(for an error of -12.1%), and 833.4m (for an error of -16.7%), and they are listed
in Table A.1.
The GRM approach uses the average velocity formula (Palmer, 1980, p.42, eqn.
27; 1986, p.147, eqn. 10.4), for the single layer, constant wavespeed model,
viz.
V = [(XY V
n
2
) / (XY + 2 t
G
V
n
)]

(A.8)
The resultant average wavespeed is 2107 m/s, which in turn produces depths
over the horizontal sections of 770.2 m (for an error of 2.7%) and 973.6 m (for an
error of -2.6%). The differences in the traveltimes for the data and the constant
wavespeed model range from zero to -140 ms, and are shown in Figure A.5.
This inversion model emphasizes the appropriateness of the selection of the
starting model with model-based inversion. The constant wavespeed model is
applicable to a wide range a subsurface targets especially those in the near
surface, and it has proven to be efficacious since the earliest days of refraction
seismology. Furthermore, it is often used for field data, where the curvature of
the traveltime graph is not obvious (Palmer, 1983; Zhu et al., 1992). This
situation is not uncommon because the amplitudes at the larger offsets are
usually much weaker than those on the near offsets, thereby resulting in the
arrival times being measured later than is the case with noise-free data.
Even though the differences in the traveltimes between field and the modeled
data are an order of magnitude smaller with the model-based inversion approach
than with the GRM, there is not a commensurate improvement in the depth
computations.
229
Figure A.7: The difference in traveltimes between the original data and the
modeled response for the two layers with constant wavespeeds inversion model,
for the model-based and GRM approaches.
A.5 - Two Layer Constant Wavespeed Inversion Model
Clearly, the single layer constant wavespeed model is not a completely
satisfactory approximation, and the next step is to consider a two segment
approximation to the traveltime graphs. This model is especially realistic when
the curvature of the traveltime graphs is not obvious with field data, and as a
result, the graphs are approximated with two straight line segments. In this case
230
the two wavespeeds are 1775 m/s and 1932 m/s, and the intercept time is 65ms
for the second layer. Figure A.7 shows that the modeled traveltimes are within
4 ms of the original data, a result which would normally be considered an
excellent approximation. Figure A.8 shows the computed depths for the
horizontal sections are 695.2 m (for an error of -7.3%), and 882.7 m (for an error
of -11.7%).
Figure A.8: Unmigrated depth sections for the two layers with constant
wavespeeds inversion model, for the model-based and GRM approaches.
For the GRM approach to the two layer approximation, I solve two simultaneous
equations which relate layer thicknesses and wavespeeds to the time-depth, and
231
to the optimum XY value, (Palmer, 1980, p.47: 1986, p.136-137). The results are
the layer thicknesses z
1
and z
2
, after values for the wavespeeds have been set.
The equations are:
t
G
= z
1
cos i
1n
/ V
1
+ z
2
cos i
2n
/ V
2
(A.9)
XY = 2 z
1
tan i
1n
+ 2 z
2
tan i
2n
(A.10)
where
i
jn
= sin
-1
(V
j
/ V
n
) (A.11)
The values used for the wavespeeds are 1800 m/s for V
1
, which is suggested by
the traveltime graphs, and 2400 m/s for V
2
. The computed depths are 735.7 m
(for an error of -1.9%), and 981.2 m (for an error of -1.9%).
The traveltime differences are shown in Figure A.7 and range from -10 ms to +25
ms. As with the single layer inversion model, these differences are much larger
than those for the model-based inversion approach, but the depth computations
are still more accurate.
A.6 - Two Layer Wavespeed Reversal Inversion Model
Suppose that there were sufficient reasons for considering the existence of a
surface layer with a wavespeed of 3600 m/s. In this case, the traveltime graphs
with the shot points at 2400m and 4800m, would be ignored because of
additional, more compelling reasons, such as the existence of a local surface
lens of limestone or permafrost with a high wavespeed, or even extrapolation
from an adjacent area. The model-based inversion approach can only assume
232
that this wavespeed occurs throughout the upper layer, resulting in computed
depths of 1758.6 m (for an error of 137%) and 2222.8 m (for an error of 123%).
The GRM approach to the wavespeed reversal model is similar to the two layer
constant wavespeed model described previously. In that case, the selection of
the second layer wavespeed of 2400 m/s might have appeared to be rather
arbitrary. In fact, almost any wavespeed will suffice, provided it is above a
certain minimum, because the thickness of the corresponding layer is
automatically adjusted to produce an effective average wavespeed similar to that
obtained with equation A.4. Furthermore, it will be noted that there is no
requirement for the wavespeeds to increase monotonically with depth with this
approach, and therefore it can be applied equally validly to the wavespeed
reversal model. Using wavespeeds of 3600 m/s and 1800 m/s, solution of
equations A.9 to A.11 produces depths of 731.81 m (for an error of -2.4%), and
904.7m (for an error of -9.5%).
The wavespeed reversal model is generally acknowledged as one of the most
difficult if not impossible to address satisfactorily with refraction tomography
(Lanz et al., 1998). In the absence of other geological or geophysical data, the
GRM approach provides a measure of constraint for a normally intractable
problem.
A.7 - The Evjen Inversion Model
If in fact, it was recognised that the traveltime data represented a variable
wavespeed medium, then the wavespeed function in the overburden can be
approximated with the Evjen function, viz.
V(z) = V
0
(1 + q z)
1/m
(A.12)
233
For the model-based inversion approach, I determine the variable q, by iteratively
matching the traveltime graphs, once the value of V
0
is set at 1750 m/s, and m is
set at 1,2,3,4 or 6.
Figure A.9: The difference in traveltimes between the original data and the
modeled response for the single layer with a linear function of the depth
wavespeed inversion model, for the model-based and GRM approaches.
The GRM approach to the variable wavespeed model is described in detail in
Palmer (1986, p.175-181), and is outlined in the Appendix.
234
Figure A.9 shows the results for the linear wavespeed function. As with other
inversion models, the model-based inversion is able to achieve excellent
agreement with the traveltime data (-2 ms to + 0.5 ms), while depth computations
are 766.7 m (2.2% error) and 1026.2 m (2.6% error). With the GRM approach,
the differences in traveltimes are up to 12 ms, while the depths are 751.0 m
(0.1% error) and 996.7 m (-0.3% error).
Figure A.10: The difference in traveltimes between the original data and the
modeled response for the single layer with a parabolic function of the depth
wavespeed inversion model, for the model-based and GRM approaches.
235
Figure A.10 shows the results for the parabolic wavespeed function. The errors
in the traveltimes with model-based methods are zero, and the depth estimates
are 757.2 m (1% error) and 1002.5 m (0.25% error). The GRM depth
computations are of comparable accuracy being 749.5 m (-0.4% error) and 989.6
m (-1% error). The differences in the traveltimes are up to 6 ms.
Figure A.11: The difference in traveltimes between the original data and the
modeled response for the single layer with a one third power of the depth
wavespeed inversion model, for the model-based and GRM approaches.
The one third power of the depth function produces excellent agreement with the
traveltimes for both the model-based inversion and the GRM approaches. As is
shown in Figure A.11, traveltimes differences are generally less than 1 ms.
236
Depth estimates are also quite accurate with 749.9 m(-0.01% error) and 985.7 m
(-1.5% error) for the model-based inversion, and 751.2 m (0.16% error) and
987.9 m (-1.2% error) for the GRM.
Figure A.12: The difference in traveltimes between the original data and the
modeled response for the single layer with a one fourth power of the depth
wavespeed inversion model, for the model-based and GRM approaches.
For the one fourth power of the depth function, traveltimes are generally within 1
ms (see Figure A.12), while the depths are 745.0 m (-0.7% error) and 966.5 m (-
3.4% error) for the model-based inversion. For the GRM approach, the
237
traveltime differences are as much as -5 ms, while the depths are 752.7 m (0.4%
error) and 986.4 m (-1.4% error).
Figure A.13: The difference in traveltimes between the original data and the
modeled response for the single layer with a one sixth power of the depth
wavespeed inversion model, for the model-based and GRM approaches.
The results for the one sixth power of the depth function are similar to those
described above. For the model-based inversion approach, the traveltime
differences are between -2 ms and +4 ms (see Figure A.13) while the depths are
735.0 m (-2% error) and 954.8 m (-4.5% error). For the GRM approach, the
238
traveltime differences are up to -15 ms, while depths are 755.2 m (0.7% error)
and 984.4 m (-1.6% error).
A.8 - Transverse Isotropy Inversion Model
Finally, there is the case of seismic anisotropy, in which the horizontal
wavespeed is different from the vertical value. This is one area where the
geophysical idealization of the earth can differ substantially from the
petrophysical reality. While there is overwhelming evidence that wavespeeds are
more likely to be anisotropic than isotropic, because of intrinsic anisotropy, cyclic
layering, etc, it is rare for the basic model for most refraction inversion routines to
include this property. No doubt the complexities of the mathematical treatment,
together with the lack of accepted methods for determining anisotropy
parameters from surface measurements, contribute to this situation.
In most cases, the horizontal wavespeed is greater than the vertical value. This
is usually the case with undisturbed sedimentary rocks, because of the effects of
compaction and cyclic layering. However, the reverse condition may apply, such
as with steeply dipping sedimentary or metamorphic rocks, or with non-
hydrostatic stress. Accordingly, simply assuming an anisotropy factor with the
vertical wavespeed being less than the horizontal can sometimes be
inappropriate.
Unless there is additional information, such as bore hole control, seismic
anisotropy is not easily recognised or accommodated with the standard refraction
methods, and any depth and wavespeed computations can have indeterminate
errors. However, for completeness of the comparison, I use the commonly
assumed anisotropy factor for P waves in sedimentary rocks of 1.10, together
with the horizontal wavespeeds of 1800 m/s, 2100 m/s and 2300 m/s, for the
239
model-based inversion approach. The vertical wavespeeds used for depth
conversion are then 1636 m/s, 1909 m/s and 2091 m/s.
The GRM approach to anisotropic overburdens is described in detail in Palmer
(Palmer, 1986). With this approach, I seek to determine the anisotropy factor,
which is the horizontal wavespeed divided by the vertical wavespeed, for which
the wavespeed given by the Crampin equation, viz.
V
2
() = A + B cos 2 + C cos 4 (A.9)
(where is the angle from the vertical), is equal to the average wavespeed
modified for anisotropy, viz.
V = [(XY V
n
2
) / (XY + 2 c t
G
V
n
)]

(A.10)
where
c = (A - B + C - 8 C cos
4
) / (A + B + C - 8 C sin
4
) (A.11)
The value of used in equations A.13 and A.15, is that for the critical angle for
an horizontal refractor. I examine three models of anisotropy.
The first model uses a horizontal wavespeed of 1800 m/s, which can be
recovered from the traveltime graphs. For the model-based inversion approach
using an anisotropy factor of 1.1, the computed depths are 664.3 m (-11.4%
error) and 839.7 m (-16% error).
The GRM approach produces an anisotropy factor of 0.855, and depths of 789.7
(5.3% error) and 998.1 m (-0.2% error). The computed value of the anisotropy
factor is unusual in that it is less than unity. Nevertheless, the computed depths
are reasonably close to the true values.
240
The second model uses a horizontal wavespeed of 2100 m/s, which is
approximately the average wavespeed in the first layer. For the model-based
inversion approach using an anisotropy factor of 1.1, the computed depths are
700.0 m (-6.7% error) and 885.1 m (-11.5% error).
The GRM approach produces an anisotropy factor of 1.025, and depths of 763.0
m (1.7% error) and 965.5 m (-3.5% error). In this case, the anisotropy factor is
close to unity, which is compatible with the selection of a horizontal wavespeed
similar to the average computed with equation A.4. Therefore, the GRM can
produce an isotropic result if indeed that is appropriate.
The third model uses a horizontal wavespeed of 2400 m/s. For the model-based
inversion approach, the computed depths are 780.4 m (4.1% error) and 986.4 m
(-1.4% error). This is the best result for this approach and it is the result of a
fortuitous combination of the horizontal wavespeed and the assumed anisotropy
factor producing a vertical wavespeed which is comparable with the average
computed with equation A.4.
The GRM approach produces an anisotropy factor of 1.21, and depths of 706.9
m (-5.8% error) and 893.6 m (-10.6% error).
Seismic anisotropy, like wavespeed reversals, emphasizes the fact the model-
based inversion is only efficacious when the traveltime data are an accurate and
complete reflection of the subsurface wavespeed stratification, and therefore
when an inversion model can be determined.
241
A.9 - Errors Related to the Optimum XY Value
In general, the errors in the depth computations related to the choice of the
choice of the inversion model, are between 2% to 3% with the GRM approach.
For this study, a single or average optimum XY value is used. I demonstrate
further improvements in accuracy when the optimum XY values, which are
applicable to each side of the sloping segment of the refractor, are used (Palmer,
1986, 1992).
The errors in the depth computations which are related to the errors in the
measurement of the XY value, can be estimated in the following way.
The errors in the optimum XY value are one half of the detector spacing, ie 25
m. Therefore the possible range of optimum XY values is 800 m 25 m, ie 775
m to 825 m. (An inspection of Figure A.4 suggests that the latter value of 825 m
is probably the best estimate of a single average value. It is also the mean of the
values applicable to either side of the sloping interface (Palmer, 1986).)
The single layer constant wavespeed will be used for convenience. The average
wavespeed computed with equation 4 using optimum XY values of 775 m and
825 m, are 2079 m/s and 2133 m/s. They differ from the value of 2107 m/s used
in the single layer inversion model above, by an average of 27 m/s, or about
1.3%. The resulting error in depth calculations is approximately 11.4 m or
1.3%.
Alternatively, it can be demonstrated by differentiation of equation A.4 that:
V / V XY / XY (A.16)
Therefore, an error of 3% (25/800) in the optimum XY value, results in an error of
1.5% in the average wavespeed.
242
Figure A.14: Summary of the errors in depth computations for all inversion
models, for the model-based and GRM approaches. The errors for the
wavespeed reversal model using the model-based approach have been
arbitrarily set at 22% and 25%.
243
INVERSION MODEL MODEL-BASED GRM
Inversion
Model
True
Depth
Wavespeed Depth Error Wavespeed Depth Error
One Layer 750 m
1000 m
1813 m/s
1813 m/s
659 m
834 m
-12%
-17%
2107 m/s
2107 m/s
770 m
974 m
2.7%
-2.6%
Two Layers 750 m
1000 m
1775 m/s
1932 m/s
1175 m/s
1932 m/s
146 m
695 m
146 m
883 m
-7%
-12%
1800 m/s
2400 m/s
1800 m/s
2400m/s
382 m
736 m
429 m
981 m
-1.9%
-1.9%
Wavespeed
Reversal
750 m
1000 m
3600 m/s
3600 m/s
1759 m
2223 m
137%
123%
3600 m/s
1800 m/s
3600 m/s
1800 m/s
119 m
732 m
174 m
906 m
-2.4%
-9.5%
Evjen, m=1 750 m
1000 m
q=.00048
q=.00048
767 m
1026 m
2.2%
2.6%
q=.000422
q=.000422
751 m
997 m
0.1%
-0.3%
Evjen, m=2 750 m
1000 m
q=.001
q=.001
757 m
1026 m
1 %
0.3%
q=.000941
q=.000941
750 m
990 m
0%
-1.0%
Evjen, m=3 750 m
1000 m
q=.001577
q-.001577
750 m
986 m
0%
-1.5%
q=.00156
q=.00156
751 m
988 m
0.2%
-1.2%
Evjen, m=4 750 m
1000 m
q=.00218
q=.00218
745 m
967 m
-0.7%
-3.4%
q=.00235
q=.00235
753 m
986 m
0.4%
-1.4%
Evjen, m=6 750 m
1000 m
q=.0035
q=.0035
735 m
955 m
-2%
-4.5%
q=.004413
q=.004413
755 m
984 m
0.7%
-1.6%
Anisotropy
V
H
=1800 m/s
750 m
1000 m
k=1.10
k=1.10
664 m
840 m
-11.4%
-16%
k=0.855
k=0.855
790 m
998 m
-5.3%
-0.2%
Anisotropy
V
H
=2100 m/s
750 m
1000 m
k=1.10
k=1.10
700 m
885 m
-6.7%
-11.5%
k=1.025
k=1.025
763 m
966 m
1.7%
-3.5%
Anisotropy
V
H
=2400 m/s
750 m
1000 m
k=1.10
k=1.10
780 m
986 m
4.1%
-1.4%
k=1.21
k=1.21
707 m
894 m
-5.8%
-10.6%
Table A.1: Comparison of depth estimates using model-based and GRM
approaches.
244
A.10 - Discussion and Conclusions
This study demonstrates that virtually any inversion model can be fitted to
traveltime data to a high accuracy. With the noise-free data used in this study,
the accuracy is generally better than 5 ms for traveltimes of up to 1300 ms or
0.4%. The errors are about four times larger for the single layer constant
wavespeed inversion model, but they are still acceptable.
However, the superior agreement with the traveltime data is not associated with
more accurate depth estimates. The average errors in depth computations are
about 5% to 10% and they are approximately three times larger than those
obtained through a GRM analysis. Figure A.14 summarizes the results.
In those cases where the inversion models are similar to the test model as with
the Evjen functions, the accuracy of the depth computations is quite high. The
accuracy is highest with the Evjen function with exponents of 2 and 3, which are
close to the test model, and it is least for exponents of 1 and 6, which represent
less similar models.
The lower accuracy of depths computed with the one and two layer
approximations, which are valid and widely applicable inversion models,
indicates the significance of the inversion model rather than the superiority of
variable wavespeed models, such as the linear function. As a corollary, it
indicates that the use of linear functions where constant wavespeed models are
applicable will also result in comparable significant errors in depth computations.
The cases of a reversal in the wavespeed and transverse isotropy illustrate a
fundamental shortcoming of model-based inversion. With a wavespeed reversal,
no traveltimes are recorded from the layer, and therefore it is simply not possible
to achieve agreement between the observed data and the computed traveltimes.
With seismic anisotropy, the traveltimes are obtained in the wrong direction. The
245
field data are a measure of the horizontal wavespeed, while the vertical or near-
vertical wavespeed is required for depth conversion. These models demonstrate
that layers or wavespeeds not represented in the traveltime data can only be
modeled after an empirical assignment of parameters, or only if other data are
available, such as borehole control.
By contrast, the differences between the original traveltime data and the
computed traveltimes for models whose parameters are determined with the
GRM, are much larger. In several cases, these differences can be many tens of
milliseconds or up to 11%. However, the computed depths are generally more
accurate than those computed with the model-based approach. Furthermore, the
GRM is able to address the valid and important inversion models of wavespeed
reversal and transverse isotropy, unlike the model-based methods.
The consistent depth computations with the GRM are related to the constraint of
the wavespeed models with the optimum XY value. This parameter is a function
of both the thicknesses and wavespeeds of all layers above the refractor.
Therefore, the accuracy of the GRM approach is due to the inherent accuracy of
interpolation.
By contrast, the maximum depth of penetration of the direct arrivals used in the
model-based approach is less than 300 m (Palmer, 1986, equation 13.18). As a
result, wavespeeds throughout the first layer are determined by extrapolation
from the upper part of that layer. The various inversion models represent
different extrapolation functions and the errors are due to the inherent instability
of extrapolation. This instability is aggravated where there are undetected layers.
Furthermore, the application of linear wavespeed functions to constant
wavespeed layering can result in large gradients (Lanz et al., 1998), which in turn
can result in the ubiquitous ray path diagrams demonstrating almost complete
coverage of the subsurface. These diagrams are misleading when the inversion
246
model does not accurately represent the subsurface, because the shortcomings
of extrapolation are not overcome.
In general, the direct traveltimes through a layer are unable to provide a reliable
wavespeed model of that layer, except in the trivial cases of isotropic constant
wavespeeds. This casts doubts on the benefits of very high precision of the
traveltimes. Although the data used in this study are noise-free and accurate to
0.1 ms, there is not a corresponding increased accuracy in the depth
computations with the model-based approach. Accordingly, it is questionable
whether it is necessary to measure traveltimes to an accuracy of 0.1 ms (Lanz et
al., 1998), especially when the acceptable residuals appear to be between 2 ms
and 5 ms for most near surface targets.
A more reliable measure of the accuracy of depth computations is the optimum
XY value, because it constrains the parameters for each inversion model. This in
turn, is a function of the detector interval. Therefore, trace spacing is at least as
important as the accuracy of the traveltime data in assessing of the accuracy of
refraction inversion.
While it is clear that the quality of the field data will have some effect on the
measurement of the optimum XY value, it is not as critical as with the model-
based methods. This single parameter is obtained through the recognition of a
distinctive pattern of minimum residuals between the computed and averaged
wavespeed analysis function, as shown in Figure A.4. This pattern is less
sensitive to errors in the individual traveltimes.
The major conclusion to be drawn from this study is that the choice of the
inversion model is an important, if not the most important factor in the
performance of model-based inversion. However, the wavespeed model for
each layer cannot be determined uniquely from the traveltime data from that
layer, because the data generally do not provide a complete, an accurate nor a
247
representative sample of that layer. By contrast, the optimum XY value does
provide a complete sample, because it is determined from the traveltimes for the
underlying refractor, and it is able constrain an almost complete range of
inversion models. Therefore, the appropriate model for model-based inversion
has parameters determined with a GRM analysis, together with minimum
residuals between observed and modeled traveltimes.
The results of this study suggests a two stage inversion strategy. Firstly, the
GRM is employed where the refractor is sufficiently irregular, in order to
determine an appropriate model for inversion. Experience indicates that this
situation occurs in about 30% of the data. Secondly, model-based inversion
methods such as tomography are then employed to process the full set of data,
using the wavespeed model determined with the GRM analysis.
Alternatively, if depth estimates obtained with the GRM using the single layer
constant wavespeed model are similar to those obtained with model-based
inversion, then the inversion model can be taken as appropriate.
A.11 - References
Acheson, C. H., 1963, Time-depth and velocity-depth relations in Western
Canada: Geophysics, 28, 894-909.
Acheson, C. H., 1981, Time-depth and velocity-depth relations in sedimentary
basins - a study based on current investigations in the Arctic Islands and an
interpretation of experience elsewhere: Geophysics, 46, 707-716.
Berry, J. E., 1959, Acoustic velocity in porous media: Petroleum Trans. AIME,
216, 262-270.
248
Birch, F., 1960, The velocity of compressional waves in rocks at 10 kilobars: J.
Geophys. Res., 65, 1083-1102.
Brandt, H., 1955, A study of the speed of sound in porous granular media: J.
Appl. Mech., 22, 479-486
Dobrin, M. B., 1976, Introduction to geophysical prospecting, 3rd edition:
McGraw-Hill Inc.
Faust, L. Y., 1951, Seismic velocity as a function of depth and geologic time:
Geophysics, 16, 192-206.
Faust, L. Y., 1953, A velocity function including lithologic variation: Geophysics,
18, 271-288.
Gassman, F., 1951, Elastic waves through a packing of spheres: Geophysics,
16, 673-685.
Gassman, F., 1953, Note on Elastic waves through a packing of spheres:
Geophysics, 16, 269.
Hall, J., 1970, The correlation of seismic velocities with formations in the
southwest of Scotland: Geophys. Prosp., 18, 134-156.
Hamilton, E. L., 1970, Sound velocity and related properties of marine sediments,
North Pacific: J. Geophys. Res., 75, 4423-4446.
Hamilton, E. L., 1971, Elastic properties of marine sediments: J. Geophys. Res.,
76, 579-604.
249
Iida, K., 1939, Velocity of elastic waves in granular substances: Tokyo Univ.
Earthquake Res. Inst. Bull., 17, 783-897.
Jankowsky, W., 1970, Empirical investigation of some factors affecting elastic
velocities in carbonate rocks: Geophys. Prosp., 18 103-118.
Lanz, E., Maurer, H., and Green, A. G., 1998, Refraction tomography over a
buried waste disposal site: Geophysics, 63, 1414-1433.
Menke, W., 1989, Geophysical data analysis: discrete inverse theory: Academic
Press, Inc.
Miller, K. C., Harder, S. H., and Adams, D. C., and O'Donnell, T., 1998,
Integrating high-resolution refraction data into near-surface seismic reflection
data processing and interpretation: Geophysics, 63, 1339-1347.
Palmer, D., 1980, The generalized reciprocal method of seismic refraction
interpretation: Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
Palmer, D., 1983, Comment on "Curved raypath interpretation of seismic
refraction data" by S.A. Greenhalgh and D.W. King: Geophys. Prosp., 31, 542-
543.
Palmer, D., 1986, Refraction seismics - the lateral resolution of structure and
seismic velocity: Geophysical Press.
Palmer, D., 1991, The resolution of narrow low-velocity zones with the
generalized reciprocal method: Geophys. Prosp., 39, 1031-1060.
Palmer, D., 1992, Is forward modelling as efficacious as minimum variance for
refraction inversion?: Explor. Geophys., 23, 261-266, 521.
250
Paterson, N. R., 1956, Seismic wave propagation in porous granular media:
Geophysics, 21, 691-714.
Stefani, J. P., 1995, Turning-ray tomography: Geophysics, 60, 1917-1929.
White, J. E., and Sengbush, R. L.,, 1953, Velocity measurements in near surface
formations: Geophysics, 18, 54-69.
Wyllie, W. R., Gregory, A. R.,and Gardner, L. W., 1956, Elastic wave velocities in
heterogeneous and porous media: Geophysics, 21, 41-70.
Wyllie, W. R., Gregory, A. R.,and Gardner, L. W., 1958, An experimental
investigation affecting elastic wave velocities in porous media: Geophysics, 23,
459-593.
Zhang, J., and Toksoz, M. N., 1998, Nonlinear refraction traveltime tomography:
Geophysics, 63, 1726-1737.
Zhu, X., Sixta, D. P., and Andstman, B. G., 1992, Tomostatics: turning-ray
tomography + static corrections: The Leading Edge, 11, 15-23.
A.12 - Appendix: Definition of Variable Wavespeed Media with
the GRM
The GRM approach to the variable wavespeed model is described in detail in
(Palmer, 1986, p.175-181). Essentially the approach assumes that the Evjen
function in equation A-1a, is applicable, ie.
V(z) = V
0
(1 + q z)
1/m
(A.1a)
251
The wavespeed of the upper layer at the surface, V
0
, is obtained from the
traveltime graphs. The refractor wavespeed, V
n
, the time-depth, t
G
, and the
optimum XY value are obtained from the application of the GRM wavespeed
analysis and time-depth algorithms.
These parameters are substituted into the left hand side of equation A-2a, which
is a standard integral for integer values of m, the exponent in equation A-1a.
t
G
V
n
/ XY =
i0

i1
(sin
m-2
i - sin
2
i) di /
i0

i1
sin
m
i (A.2a)
sin i
0
= V
0
/ V
n
(A.3a)
sin i
1
= V
1
/ V
n
(A.4a)
and V
1
is the wavespeed in the variable wavespeed medium, immediately above
the refractor.
The sine of the critical angle, i
1
, is obtained from equation A-2a, once a value of
m has been selected, either from a cross-plot of V
0
/ V
n
and t
G
V
n
/ XY, or by
iteration.
The critical angle is then used to evaluate the relationship between the time-
depth t
G
and the angles i
0
and i
1
, in equation A-5, to obtain the parameter q (see
equation A-1a), viz.
t
G
V
n
= (m / q V
0
sin
m-1
i
0
)
i0

i1
(sin
m-2
i - sin
2
i) di (A.5a)
Finally the depth, z
G
, is obtained from
sin i
1
= V
0
(1 + q z
G
)
1/m
/ V
n
(A.6a)
252
Appendix 3
Surefcon.c
/ * Copyr i ght ( c) Col or ado School of Mi nes, 1999. */

/ * Al l r i ght s r eser ved. */


/ *SUCONV: $Revi si on: 1. 12 $ ; $Dat e: 1996/ 09/ 05 19: 24: 26 $ */
"
"
#i ncl ude " su. h"
"
#i ncl ude " segy. h"
"
#i ncl ude " header . h"
"
"
/ *********************** sel f document at i on **************************/
char *sdoc[ ] = {
" " ,
" SUREFCON - Convol ut i on of user - suppl i ed For war d and Rever se " ,
" r ef r act i on shot s usi ng XY t r ace of f set i n r ever se shot " ,
"
" , sur ef con <f or shot suf i l e=r evshot xy={t r ace of f set ed} >st dout " ,
" " ,
" Requi r ed par amet er s: " ,
" suf i l e= f i l e cont ai ni ng SU t r ace t o use as r ever se shot " ,
253
" xy = Number of t r aces of f set ed f r omt he 1st t r ace i n suf i l e " ,
" " ,
" Opt i onal par amet er s: " ,
" none " ,
" " ,
" Tr ace header f i el ds accessed: ns " ,
" Tr ace header f i el ds modi f i ed: ns " ,
" " ,
" Not es: I t i s qui et l y assumed t hat t he t i me sampl i ng i nt er val on t he" ,
" out put t r aces i s t he same as t hat on t he t r aces i n t he i nput f i l es. " ,
" " ,
" Exampl es: " ,
" suconv<DATA suf i l e=DATA xy=1 | . . .
" , "
" ,
" Her e, t he su dat a f i l e, \ " DATA\ " , convol ved t he nt h t r ace by " ,
"
" ( n+xy) t h t r ace i n t he same f i l e " ,
" " ,
" " ,
NULL};
/ * Cr edi t s:
* CWP: J ack K. Cohen, Mi chel Di et r i ch
* UNSW: D. Pal mer , K. T. LEE
*
* CAVEATS: no space- var i abl e or t i me- var i abl e capaci t y.
* The mor e t han one t r ace al l owed i n suf i l e i s t he
* begi nni ng of a hook t o handl e t he spat i al l y var i ant case.
*
* Tr ace header f i el ds accessed: ns
* Tr ace header f i el ds modi f i ed: ns
*/
/ **************** end sel f doc ********************************/
segy i nt r ace, out t r ace, sut r ace;
i nt
254
mai n( i nt ar gc, char **ar gv)
{
i nt nt ; / * number of poi nt s on i nput t r aces */
i nt nt out ; / * number of poi nt s on out put t r aces */
i nt xy; / * t he of f set number f or GRM */
f l oat *f or shot ; / * f or war d shot */
i nt nf or shot ; / * l engt h of i nput wavel et i n sampl es */
cwp_St r i ng suf i l e; / * name of f i l e of f or war d SU t r aces */
FI LE *f p; / * . . . i t s f i l e poi nt er */
i nt i t r ; / * t r ace count er */
/ * I ni t i al i ze */
i ni t ar gs( ar gc, ar gv) ;
r equest doc( 1) ;
/ * Get i nf o f r omf i r st t r ace */
i f ( ! get t r ( &i nt r ace) ) er r ( " can' t get 1st r ever se shot t r ace" ) ;
nt = i nt r ace. ns;
/ * Def aul t par amet er s; User - def i ned over r i des */
i f ( ! get par i nt ( " xy" , &xy) ) xy = 0;
/ * Check xy val ues */
i f ( xy < 0) er r ( " xy=%d shoul d be posi t i ve" , xy) ;
i f ( ! get par st r i ng( " suf i l e" , &suf i l e) ) {
er r ( " must speci f y suf i l e= desi r ed f or war d shot " ) ;
} el se {
/ * Get par amet er s and set up f or shot ar r ay */
f p = ef open( suf i l e, " r " ) ;
f or ( i t r = 0; i t r <= xy; ++i t r ) {
i f ( ! f get t r ( f p, &sut r ace) ) {
er r ( " can' t get 1st r equest ed f or war d t r ace" ) ;
};
};
nf or shot = sut r ace. ns;
255
f or shot = eal l oc1f l oat ( nf or shot ) ;
/ * Set out put t r ace l engt h */
nt out = nt + nf or shot - 1;
/ * Mai n l oop over r ever se shot t r aces */
do {
f pr i nt f ( st der r , " r ev==%d\ t , f or =%d\ t " , i nt r ace. t r acf ,
sut r ace. t r acf ) ;
memcpy( ( voi d *) f or shot ,
( const voi d *) sut r ace. dat a, nf or shot *FSI ZE) ;
/ * Convol ve f or shot wi t h r evshot t r ace */
conv( nf or shot , 0, f or shot ,
nt , 0, i nt r ace. dat a,
nt out , 0, out t r ace. dat a) ;
/ * Out put convol veed t r ace */
memcpy( ( voi d *) &out t r ace, ( const voi d *) &i nt r ace,
HDRBYTES) ;
out t r ace. ns = nt out ;
out t r ace. dt = out t r ace. dt / 2;
/ *out t r ace. cdp = 2*i nt r ace. t r acf + xy; */
f pr i nt f ( st der r , " out _cdp=%d\ n" , 2*i nt r ace. t r acf + xy) ;
put t r ( &out t r ace) ;
} whi l e ( get t r ( &i nt r ace) && f get t r ( f p, &sut r ace) ) ;
} ;
r et ur n EXI T_SUCCESS;
}
256
Appendix 4
The Effects of Spatial Sampling on
Refraction Statics
Palmer, D., Goleby, B., and Drummond, B., 2000a, The effects of spatial
sampling on refraction statics: Exploration Geophysics, 31, 270-274.