Accurate synthetic seismic wavefields can now be computed in 3-D earth models using the spectral element method (SEM), which helps improve resolution in full waveform global tomography. However, computational costs are still a challenge. These costs can be reduced by implementing a source stacking method, in which multiple earthquake sources are simultaneously triggered in only one teleseismic SEM simulation. One drawback of this approach is the perceived loss of resolution at depth, in particular because high-amplitude fundamental mode surface waves dominate the summed waveforms, without the possibility of windowing and weighting as in conventional waveform tomography.
This can be addressed by redefining the cost-function and computing the cross-correlation wavefield between pairs of stations before each inversion iteration. While the Green’s function between the two stations is not reconstructed as well as in the case of ambient noise tomography, where sources are distributed more uniformly around the globe, this is not a drawback, since the same processing is applied to the 3-D synthetics and to the data, and the source parameters are known to a good approximation. By doing so, we can separate time windows with large energy arrivals corresponding to fundamental mode surface waves. This opens the possibility of designing a weighting scheme to bring out the contribution of overtones and body waves. It also makes it possible to balance the contributions of frequently sampled paths versus rarely sampled ones, as in more conventional tomography.
Here we present the results of proof of concept testing of such an approach for a synthetic 3-component long period waveform data set (periods longer than 60 s), computed for 273 globally distributed events in a simple toy 3-D radially anisotropic upper mantle model which contains shear wave anomalies at different scales. We compare the results of inversion of 10 000 s long stacked time-series, starting from a 1-D model, using source stacked waveforms and station-pair cross-correlations of these stacked waveforms in the definition of the cost function. We compute the gradient and the Hessian using normal mode perturbation theory, which avoids the problem of cross-talk encountered when forming the gradient using an adjoint approach. We perform inversions with and without realistic noise added and show that the model can be recovered equally well using one or the other cost function.
The proposed approach is computationally very efficient. While application to more realistic synthetic data sets is beyond the scope of this paper, as well as to real data, since that requires additional steps to account for such issues as missing data, we illustrate how this methodology can help inform first order questions such as model resolution in the presence of noise, and trade-offs between different physical parameters (anisotropy, attenuation, crustal structure, etc.) that would be computationally very costly to address adequately, when using conventional full waveform tomography based on single-event wavefield computations.