SWinvert: A workflow for performing rigorous surface wave inversions

SWinvert is a workflow developed at The University of Texas at Austin for the inversion of surface wave dispersion data. SWinvert encourages analysts to investigate inversion uncertainty and non-uniqueness in shear wave velocity (Vs) by providing a systematic procedure and open-source tools for surface wave inversion. In particular, the workflow enables the use of multiple layering parameterizations to address the inversion’s non-uniqueness, multiple global searches for each parameterization to address the inverse problem’s non-linearity, and quantification of Vs uncertainty in the resulting profiles. To encourage its adoption, the SWinvert workflow is supported by an open-source Python package, SWprepost, for surface wave inversion pre- and post-processing and an application on the DesignSafe-CyberInfracture, SWbatch, that enlists high-performance computing for performing batch-style surface wave inversion through an intuitive and easy-to-use web interface. While the workflow uses the Dinver module of the popular open-source Geopsy software as its inversion engine, the principles presented can be readily extended to other inversion programs. To illustrate the effectiveness of the SWinvert workflow and to develop a set of benchmarks for use in future surface wave inversion studies, synthetic experimental dispersion data for 12 subsurface models of varying complexity are inverted. While the effects of inversion uncertainty and non-uniqueness are shown to be minimal for simple subsurface models characterized by broadband dispersion data, these effects cannot be ignored in the Vs profiles derived for more complex models with band-limited dispersion data. The SWinvert workflow is shown to provide a methodical procedure and a powerful set of tools for performing rigorous surface wave inversions and quantifying the uncertainty in the resulting Vs profiles.

Vantassel, J. P. & Cox B. R. (2020) SWinvert: A Workflow for Performing Rigorous 1D Surface Wave Inversion. Geophysical Journal International. 224(2), 1141--1156. https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggaa426.