Gao, Kai (2014-08). Multiscale Method for Elastic Wave Propagation in the Heterogeneous, Anisotropic Media. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Seismic wave simulation in realistic Earth media with full wavefield methods is a fundamental task in geophysical studies. Conventional approaches such as the finite-difference method and the finite-element method solve the wave equation in geological models represented with discrete grids and elements. When the Earth model includes complex heterogeneities at multiple spatial scales, the simulation requires fine discretization and therefore a system with many degrees of freedom, which often exceeds current computational abilities. In this dissertation, I address this problem by proposing new multiscale methods for simulating elastic wave propagation based on previously developed algorithms for solving the elliptic partial differential equations and the acoustic wave equation. The fundamental motivation for developing the multiscale method is that it can solve the wave equation on a coarsely discretized mesh by incorporating the effects of fine-scale medium properties using so-called multiscale basis functions. This can greatly reduce computation time and degrees of freedom compared with conventional methods. I first derive a numerical homogenization method for arbitrarily heterogeneous, anisotropic media that utilizes the multiscale basis functions determined from a local linear elasticity equation to compute effective, anisotropic properties, and these equivalent elastic medium parameters can be used directly in existing elastic modeling algorithms. Then I extend the approach by constructing multiple basis functions using two types of appropriately defined local spectral linear elasticity problems. Given the eigenfunctions determined from local spectral problems, I develop a generalized multiscale finite-element method (GMsFEM) for elastic wave propagation in heterogeneous, anisotropic media in both continuous Galerkin (CG) and discontinuous Galerkin (DG) formulations. The advantage of the multiscale basis functions is they are model-dependent, unlike the predefined polynomial basis functions applied in conventional finite-element methods. For this reason, the GMsFEM can effectively capture the influence of fine-scale variation of the media. I present results for several numerical experiments to verify the effectiveness of both the numerical homogenization method and GMsFEM. These tests show that the effectiveness of the multiscale method relies on the appropriate choice of boundary conditions that are applied for the local problem in numerical homogenization method and on the selection of basis functions from a large set of eigenfunctions contained in local spectral problems in GMsFEM. I develop methods for solving both these problems, and the results confirm that the multiscale method can be powerful tool for providing accurate full wavefield solutions in heterogeneous, anisotropic media, yet with reduced computation time and degrees of freedom compared with conventional full wavefield modeling methods. Specially, I applied the DG-GMsFEM to the Marmousi-2 elastic model, and find that DG-GMsFEM can greatly reduce the computation time compared with continuous Galerkin (CG) FEM.

publication date

  • August 2014