## Abstract

The reversible jump algorithm is a statistical method for Bayesian inference with a variable number of unknowns. Here, we apply this method to the seismic tomography problem. The approach lets us consider the issue of model parametrization (i.e. the way of discretizing the velocity field) as part of the inversion process. The model is parametrized using Voronoi cells with mobile geometry and number. The size, position and shape of the cells defining the velocity model are directly determined by the data. The inverse problem is tackled within a Bayesian framework and explicit regularization of model parameters is not required. The mobile position and number of cells means that global damping procedures, controlled by an optimal regularization parameter, are avoided. Many velocity models with variable numbers of cells are generated via a transdimensional Markov chain and information is extracted from the ensemble as a whole. As an aid to interpretation we visualize the expected earth model that is obtained via Monte Carlo integration in a straightforward manner. The procedure is particularly adept at imaging rapid changes or discontinuities in wave speed. While each velocity model in the final ensemble consists of many discontinuities at cell boundaries, these are smoothed out in the averaged ensemble solution while those required by the data are reinforced. The ensemble of models can also be used to produce uncertainty estimates and experiments with synthetic data suggest that they represent actual uncertainty surprisingly well. We use the fast marching method in order to iteratively update the ray geometry and account for the non-linearity of the problem. The method is tested here with synthetic data in a 2-D application and compared with a subspace method that is a more standard matrix-based inversion scheme. Preliminary results illustrate the advantages of the reversible jump algorithm. A real data example is also shown where a tomographic image of Rayleigh wave group velocity for the Australian continent is constructed together with uncertainty estimates.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 1411-1436 |

Number of pages | 26 |

Journal | Geophysical Journal International |

Volume | 178 |

Issue number | 3 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - 2009 |