SH wave propagation in viscoelastic media

P.F. Daley and E.S. Krebes


When comparing solutions for the propagation of SH waves in plane parallel layered elastic and viscoelastic (anelastic) media, one of the first things that becomes apparent is that in the elastic case the location of the saddle points required to obtain a high frequency approximation are located on the real p axis. This is true of the branch points also. In a viscoelastic medium this is not the case. The saddle point corresponding to an arrival lies in the first quadrant of the complex p-plane as do the branch points. Additionally, in the elastic case the saddle point and branch points lie on a straight line drawn through the origin (the positive real axis in the complex p-plane), while in the viscoelastic case this is generally not the case and the saddle point and branch points lie in such a manner as to indicate the degree of their complex values.

In this paper, simple SH reflected and transmitted particle displacement arrivals due to a point torque source at the surface in a viscoelastic medium composed of a layer over a halfspace will be considered. The path of steepest descent defining the saddle point in the first quadrant will be parameterized in terms of a real variable and the high frequency solutions and intermediate analytic results obtained will be used to formulate more specific constraints and observations regarding saddle point location relative to branch point locations in the complex p-plane.

As saddle point determination for an arrival is, in general, the solution of a non-linear equation in two unknowns (the real and imaginary parts of the complex saddle point p 0 ), which must be solved numerically, the use of analytical methods for investigating this problem type is somewhat limited.

Numerical experimentation using well documented solution methods, such as Newton's method, was undertaken and some observations were made. Although fairly basic, they did provide for the design of algorithms for the computation of synthetic traces that displayed more efficient convergence and accuracy than those previously employed. This was the primary motivation for this work and the results from the SH problem may be used with minimal modifications to address the more complicated subject of coupled P-SV wave propagation in viscoelastic media.

Another reason for revisiting a problem that has received some attention in the literature was to approach it in a fairly comprehensive manner so that a number of specific observations may be made regarding the location of the saddle point in the complex p-plane and to incorporate these into computer software. These have been found to result in more efficient algorithms for the SH wave propagation and a significant enhancement of the comparable software in the P-SV problem.

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