In the near-surface with unconsolidated soils, shear properties can be well imaged, sometimes better than P-wave properties. To facilitate ground prediction ahead of a tunnel boring machine (TBM), active ‘surveys’ with shear-wave vibrators are carried out during boring. In such surveys, only a few shear-wave vibrators can be placed in front of the machine’s cutter head. The vibrators inject a force in the direction perpendicular to the drilling path. We use a vibrator that is capable of exciting low frequencies. Therefore, a full waveform inversion (FWI) approach can be used, which would make the imaging more automatic.

Imaging with conventional migration methods suffers from artifacts caused by incomplete aperture and inadequate velocity analysis. In this abstract, we examine the potential of 2-D SH FWI to reconstruct anomalies. In contrast to FWI for hydrocarbon exploration, we have access to reliable low frequencies in the data and are working in the near-field regime. The very limited maximum offset causes diving waves to be absent. This lack of aperture makes it difficult to reconstruct the shear-wave velocity away from the source-receiver array even in the presence of low frequencies. Our study shows that FWI with SH waves should offer a valuable look-ahead capability.


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