Balancing unevenly distributed data in seismic tomography: A global adjoint tomography example

Youyi Ruan, Wenjie Lei, Ryan Modrak, Rldvan Örsvuran, Ebru Bozdaǧ, Jeroen Tromp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The uneven distribution of earthquakes and stations in seismic tomography leads to slower convergence of nonlinear inversions and spatial bias in inversion results. Including dense regional arrays, such as USArray or Hi-Net, in global tomography causes severe convergence and spatial bias problems, against which conventional pre-conditioning schemes are ineffective. To save computational cost and reduce model bias, we propose a new strategy based on a geographical weighting of sources and receivers. Unlike approaches based on ray density or the Voronoi tessellation, this method scales to large full-waveform inversion problems and avoids instabilities at the edges of dense receiver or source clusters. We validate our strategy using a 2-D global waveform inversion test and show that the new weighting scheme leads to a nearly twofold reduction in model error and much faster convergence relative to a conventionally pre-conditioned inversion.We implement this geographical weighting strategy for global adjoint tomography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1225-1236
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 26 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


  • Computational seismology
  • Inverse theory
  • Seismic tomography
  • Theoretical seismology
  • Waveform inversion


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