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A review of the spectral, pseudo-spectral, finite-difference and finite-element modelling techniques for geophysical imaging

Abstract : Modelling methods are nowadays at the heart of any geophysical interpretation approach. These are heavily relied upon by imaging techniques in elastodynamics and electromagnetism, where they are crucial for the extraction of subsurface characteristics from ever larger and denser datasets. While high-frequency or one-way approximations are very powerful and efficient, they reach their limits when complex geological settings and solutions of full equations are required at finite frequencies. A review of three important formulations is carried out here: the spectral method, which is very efficient and accurate but generally restricted to simple earth structures and often layered earth structures; the pseudo-spectral, finite-difference and finite-volume methods based on strong formulation of the partial differential equations, which are easy to implement and currently represent a good compromise between accuracy, efficiency and flexibility and the continuous or discontinuous Galerkin finite-element methods that are based on the weak formulation, which lead to more accurate earth representations and therefore to more accurate solutions, although with higher computational costs and more complex use. The choice between these different approaches is still difficult and depends on the applications. Guidelines are given here through discussion of the requirements for imaging/inversion.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 2:34:13 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:06:09 AM

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Jean Virieux, Henri Calandra, René-Edouard Plessix. A review of the spectral, pseudo-spectral, finite-difference and finite-element modelling techniques for geophysical imaging. Geophysical Prospecting, Wiley, 2011, 59 (5), pp.794-813. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-2478.2011.00967.x⟩. ⟨insu-00681794⟩

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