Tunneling of seismic body waves through thin high-velocity layers in complex structures

Vlastislav Cerveny & Paulo R.A. Aranha


The hybrid ray-reflectivity method is applied to the problem of the transmission of the reflected wave field through a thin high-velocity layer (or through a thin stack of high velocity layers), situated in the overburden of the reflector. In the hybrid ray-reflectivity method, the standard ray method is applied in the smooth parts of the model, and the reflectivity method is used locally at the thin high-velocity layer. With the exception of small epicentral distances, the standard ray method itself fails in such computations. The reason is that a considerable part of the energy for overcritical angles of incidence may be tunneled through the thin high-velocity layer along complex ray-paths, corresponding to inhomogeneous waves. The reflectivity method, applied locally at the thin high-velocity layer, automatically includes all inhomogeneous wave contributions. Thus, the hybrid ray-reflectivity method removes fully the limitations of the standard ray method, but still retains its main advantages, such as its applicability to 2-D and 3-D complex layered structures, flexibility, and low-cost computations. In the numerical examples, the hybrid ray-reflectivity synthetic seismograms are compared with standard ray synthetic seismograms and with full reflectivity computations. The numerical examples show that the hybrid ray-reflectivity method describes the tunneling of seismic energy through a thin high-velocity layer with sufficient accuracy.

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Stud. geophys. geod., 36 (1992), 115-138.
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