Publications / SAND Report

Geophysical subsurface imaging and interface identification

Day, David M.; Bochev, Pavel B.; Weiss, Chester J.; Robinson, Allen C.

Electromagnetic induction is a classic geophysical exploration method designed for subsurface characterization--in particular, sensing the presence of geologic heterogeneities and fluids such as groundwater and hydrocarbons. Several approaches to the computational problems associated with predicting and interpreting electromagnetic phenomena in and around the earth are addressed herein. Publications resulting from the project include [31]. To obtain accurate and physically meaningful numerical simulations of natural phenomena, computational algorithms should operate in discrete settings that reflect the structure of governing mathematical models. In section 2, the extension of algebraic multigrid methods for the time domain eddy current equations to the frequency domain problem is discussed. Software was developed and is available in Trilinos ML package. In section 3 we consider finite element approximations of De Rham's complex. We describe how to develop a family of finite element spaces that forms an exact sequence on hexahedral grids. The ensuing family of non-affine finite elements is called a van Welij complex, after the work [37] of van Welij who first proposed a general method for developing tangentially and normally continuous vector fields on hexahedral elements. The use of this complex is illustrated for the eddy current equations and a conservation law problem. Software was developed and is available in the Ptenos finite element package. The more popular methods of geophysical inversion seek solutions to an unconstrained optimization problem by imposing stabilizing constraints in the form of smoothing operators on some enormous set of model parameters (i.e. ''over-parametrize and regularize''). In contrast we investigate an alternative approach whereby sharp jumps in material properties are preserved in the solution by choosing as model parameters a modest set of variables which describe an interface between adjacent regions in physical space. While still over-parametrized, this choice of model space contains far fewer parameters than before, thus easing the computational burden, in some cases, of the optimization problem. And most importantly, the associated finite element discretization is aligned with the abrupt changes in material properties associated with lithologic boundaries as well as the interface between buried cultural artifacts and the surrounding Earth. In section 4, algorithms and tools are described that associate a smooth interface surface to a given triangulation. In particular, the tools support surface refinement and coarsening. Section 5 describes some preliminary results on the application of interface identification methods to some model problems in geophysical inversion. Due to time constraints, the results described here use the GNU Triangulated Surface Library for the manipulation of surface meshes and the TetGen software library for the generation of tetrahedral meshes.