Uncertainty estimation in seismo-acoustic reflection travel time inversion

Jan Dettmer, Stan E. Dosso, Charles W. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


This paper develops a nonlinear Bayesian inversion for high-resolution seabed reflection travel time data including rigorous uncertainty estimation and examination of statistical assumptions. Travel time data are picked on seismo-acoustic traces and inverted for a layered sediment sound-velocity model. Particular attention is paid to picking errors which are often biased, correlated, and nonstationary. Non-Toeplitz data covariance matrices are estimated and included in the inversion along with unknown travel time offset (bias) parameters to account for these errors. Simulated experiments show that neglecting error covariances and biases can cause misleading inversion results with unrealistically high confidence. The inversion samples the posterior probability density and provides a solution in terms of one- and two-dimensional marginal probability densities, correlations, and credibility intervals. Statistical assumptions are examined through the data residuals with rigorous statistical tests. The method is applied to shallow-water data collected on the Malta Plateau during the SCARAB98 experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-176
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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