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Approximations to seismic AVA responses: Validity and potential in glaciological applications

TitleApproximations to seismic AVA responses: Validity and potential in glaciological applications
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBooth A.D, Emir E., Diez A.
Date Published2016/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0016-8033
Accession NumberWOS:000377880100048
Keywordsamplitude; flow; gas; greenland; ice-stream; russell glacier; siple-dome; wave reflection; west antarctica; zoeppritz equations

Amplitude-variation-with-angle (AVA) methods establish the seismic properties of material either side of a reflective interface, and their use is growing in glaciology. The AVA response of an interface is defined by the complex Knott-Zoeppritz (K-Z) equations, numerous approximations to which we typically assume weak interface contrasts and isotropic propagation, inconsistent with the strong contrasts at glacier beds and the vertically transverse isotropic (VTI) fabrics were associated with englacial reflectivity. We considered the validity of a suite of approximate K-Z equations for the exact P-wave reflectivity R-P of ice overlying bedrock, sediment and water, and englacial interfaces between isotropic and VTI ice. We found that the approximations of Aki-Richards, Shuey, and Fatti match exact glacier bed reflectivity to within R-P +/- 0.05, smaller than the uncertainty in typical glaciological AVA analyses, but only for maximum incident angle theta(i) limited to 30 degrees. A stricter limit of theta(i) = 20 degrees offered comparable accuracy to a hydrocarbon benchmark case of shale overlying gas-charged sand. The VTI-compliant Ruger approximation accurately described englacial reflectivity, to within R-P +/- 0.01, and it can be modified to give a quadratic expression in sin(2) (theta(i)) suitable for curve-matching operations. Having shown the circumstances under which AVA approximations were valid for glaciological applications, we have suggested that their interpretative advantages can be exploited in the future AVA interpretations.

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