Validation of 3D synthetic seismograms based on the ray-Born approximation

Libor Sachl


The first-order Born approximation is a weak scattering perturbation method which is a powerful tool. The combination of the Born approximation and the ray theory enables to extend the applicability of the ray theory in terms of the required smoothness of the model and ensures faster computations than with, e.g., the finite difference method. We are motivated to describe and explain the effects of the numerical discretization of the Born integral on the resulting seismograms.

We focus on forward modelling and study the cases in which perturbation from the background model contains the interface. We restrict ourselves to isotropic models that contain two homogeneous layers. We compare the 2D and 3D ray-based Born-approximation seismograms with the ray-theory seismograms.

The Born seismograms are computed using a grid of finite extent. We anticipate that the computational grid should contain an appropriate number of gridpoints, otherwise the seismogram would be inaccurate. We also anticipate that the limited size of the computational grid can cause problems.

We demonstrate numerically that an incorrect grid can produce significant errors in the amplitude of the wave, or it can shift the seismogram in time. Moreover, the grid boundaries work as interfaces, where spurious waves can be generated. We also attempt to explain these phenomena theoretically. We give and test the options of removing the spurious waves. We show that it is possible to compute the Born approximation in a sparser grid, if we use elastic parameters averaged from some dense grid.


Born approximation, ray theory, velocity model, perturbation.

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Stud. geophys. geod., 57 (2013), 84-102.