Traveltime computation through isotropic media via the eikonal equation

Marco A. Perez, John C. Bancroft

Traveltimes can be computed through a complex velocity structure by a finite- difference approximation to the eikonal equation. The main methods investigated here consist of the same finite-difference scheme yet differ in the order in which the points were computed. The first method estimates traveltimes along an expanding square while the second uses an expanding wavefront. Theoretically, it is expected that the expanding wavefront algorithm will be more accurate, however it takes more computational resources and time for computing the traveltimes. The expanding- square method is fast but is expected to suffer accuracy problems in complex structures. Deciding between the two methods is a trade-off between accuracy and computational time.