A Bayesian inversion framework for subsurface seismic imaging problems

  • Dias Urozayev

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis considers the reconstruction of subsurface models from seismic observations, a well-known high-dimensional and ill-posed problem. As a first regularization to such a problem, a reduction of the parameters' space is considered following a truncated Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT). This helps regularizing the seismic inverse problem and alleviates its computational complexity. A second regularization based on Laplace priors as a way of accounting for sparsity in the model is further proposed to enhance the reconstruction quality. More specifically, two Laplace-based penalizations are applied: one for the DCT coefficients and another one for the spatial variations of the subsurface model, which leads to an enhanced representation of cross-correlations of the DCT coefficients. The Laplace priors are represented by hierarchical forms that are suitable for deriving efficient inversion schemes. The corresponding inverse problem, which is formulated within a Bayesian framework, lies in computing the joint posteriors of the target model parameters and the hyperparameters of the introduced priors. Such a joint posterior is indeed approximated using the Variational Bayesian (VB) approach with a separable form of marginals under the minimization of Kullback-Leibler divergence criterion. The VB approach can provide an efficient means of obtaining not only point estimates but also closed forms of the posterior probability distributions of the quantities of interest, in contrast with the classical deterministic optimization methods. The case in which the observations are contaminated with outliers is further considered. For that case, a robust inversion scheme is proposed based on a Student-t prior for the observation noise. The proposed approaches are applied to successfully reconstruct the subsurface acoustic impedance model of the Volve oilfield.
Date of AwardNov 2022
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorDaniel Peter (Supervisor)


  • Seismic imaging
  • Bayesian estimation
  • Variational Bayesian approach

Cite this