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Toward regional-scale adjoint tomography in the deep earth


IPGP - Îlot Cuvier


Séminaires de Sismologie

Salle 310

Yder Masson


Thanks to the development of efficient numerical computation methods, such as the Spectral Element Method (SEM) and to the increasing power of computer clusters, it is now possible to obtain regional-scale images of the Earth’s interior using adjoint tomography (e.g. Tape, C., et al., 2009). As for now, these tomographic models are limited to the upper layers of the earth, i.e., they provide us with high-resolution images of the crust and the upper part of the mantle. Given the gigantic amount of calculation it represents, obtaining similar models at the global scale (i.e. images of the entire Earth) seems out of reach at the moment. Furthermore, it’s likely that the first generation of such global adjoint tomographic models will have a resolution significantly smaller than the current regional models. In order to image regions of interests in the deep Earth, such as plumes, slabs or large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs), while keeping the computation tractable, we are developing new tools that will allow us to perform regional-scale adjoint-tomography at arbitrary depths. In a recent study (Masson et al., 2013), we showed that a numerical equivalent of the time reversal mirrors used in experimental acoustics permits to confine the wave propagation computations (i.e. using SEM simulations) inside the region to be imaged. With this ability to limit wave propagation modeling inside a region of interest, obtaining the adjoint sensitivity kernels needed for tomographic imaging is only two steps further. First, the local wavefield modeling needs to be coupled with field extrapolation techniques in order to obtain synthetic seismograms at the surface of the earth. These seismograms will account for the 3D structure inside the region of interest in a quasi-exact manner. We will present preliminary results where the field-extrapolation is performed using Green’s function computed in a 1D Earth model thanks to the Direct Solution Method (DSM). Once synthetic seismograms can be obtained, it is possible to evaluate the misfit between observed and computed seismograms. The second step will then be to extrapolate the misfit function back into the SEM region in order to compute local adjoint sensitivity kernels. When available, these kernels will allow us to perform regional-scale adjoint tomography at arbitrary locations inside the earth. Masson Y., Cupillard P., Capdeville Y., & Romanowicz B., 2013. On the numerical implementation of time-reversal mirrors for tomographic imaging, Journal of Geophysical Research (under review). Tape, C., et al. (2009). "Adjoint tomography of the southern California crust." Science 325(5943): 988-992.