The geologic structure of the Earth's upper crust can be revealed by modeling variation in seismic arrival times and in potential field measurements. We demonstrate a simple method for sequentially satisfying seismic traveltime and observed gravity residuals in an iterative 3-D inversion. The algorithm is portable to any seismic analysis method that uses a gridded representation of velocity structure. Our technique calculates the gravity anomaly resulting from a velocity model by converting to density with Gardner's rule. The residual between calculated and observed gravity is minimized by weighted adjustments to the model velocity-depth gradient where the gradient is steepest and where seismic coverage is least. The adjustments are scaled by the sign and magnitude of the gravity residuals, and a smoothing step is performed to minimize vertical streaking. The adjusted model is then used as a starting model in the next seismic traveltime iteration. The process is repeated until one velocity model can simultaneously satisfy both the gravity anomaly and seismic traveltime observations within acceptable misfits. We test our algorithm with data gathered in the Puget Lowland of Washington state, USA (Seismic Hazards Investigation in Puget Sound [SHIPS] experiment). We perform resolution tests with synthetic traveltime and gravity observations calculated with a checkerboard velocity model using the SHIPS experiment geometry, and show that the addition of gravity significantly enhances resolution. We calculate a new velocity model for the region using SHIPS traveltimes and observed gravity, and show examples where correlation between surface geology and modeled subsurface velocity structure is enhanced.
Additional publication details
A simple algorithm for sequentially incorporating gravity observations in seismic traveltime tomography