An iterative, fast-sweeping-based eikonal solver for 3D tilted anisotropic media

Umair bin Waheed, Can Evren Yarman, Garret Flagg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Computation of first-arrival traveltimes for quasi-P waves in the presence of anisotropy is important for high-end near-surface modeling, microseismic-source localization, and fractured-reservoir characterization - and it requires solving an anisotropic eikonal equation. Anisotropy deviating from elliptical anisotropy introduces higher order nonlinearity into the eikonal equation, which makes solving the eikonal equation a challenge. We addressed this challenge by iteratively solving a sequence of simpler tilted elliptically anisotropic eikonal equations. At each iteration, the source function was updated to capture the effects of the higher order nonlinear terms. We used Aitken's extrapolation to speed up convergence rate of the iterative algorithm. The result is an algorithm for computing first-arrival traveltimes in tilted anisotropic media. We evaluated the applicability and usefulness of our method on tilted transversely isotropic media and tilted orthorhombic media. Our numerical tests determined that the proposed method matches the first arrivals obtained by wavefield extrapolation, even for strongly anisotropic and highly complex subsurface structures. Thus, for the cases where two-point ray tracing fails, our method can be a potential substitute for computing traveltimes. The approach presented here can be easily extended to compute first-arrival traveltimes for anisotropic media with lower symmetries, such as monoclinic or even the triclinic media.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C49-C58
Number of pages1
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 30 2015


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