The accuracy of finite-difference schemes of the 2nd and 4th order in 2-D and 3-D regular rectangular grids is studied. The method of designing the schemes and estimating their accuracy is proposed. The paper is devoted to the point schemes, expressed in terms of the discretized (point) values of the wavefield and material parameters. Only the common schemes applicable in smooth parts of seismic models, outside structural interfaces, are taken into account. Finite differences at structural interfaces are studied elsewhere.
The inaccuracy of finite-difference schemes is governed, above all, by the error in the phase velocity, caused by discretization. This error is estimated for several finite-difference schemes. It is explicitly dependent on the direction of propagation and on wave polarization. The maximum phase-velocity error over all directions of propagation enables the accuracy of the individual schemes to be appreciated in order to select the best one. The proposed approach is general and applicable to other finite-difference schemes, for example, of the 6th and higher orders.
Seismic waves, finite differences of the 2nd and 4th order, 2-D and 3-D seismic modelling, accuracy, elasticity.
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