Uncertainty Loops in Travel-Time Tomography from Nonlinear Wave Physics

Erica Galetti, Andrew Curtis, Giovanni Angelo Meles, Brian Baptie

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Estimating image uncertainty is fundamental to guiding the interpretation of geoscientific tomographic maps. We reveal novel uncertainty topologies (loops) which indicate that while the speeds of both low- and high-velocity anomalies may be well constrained, their locations tend to remain uncertain. The effect is widespread: loops dominate around a third of United Kingdom Love wave tomographic uncertainties, changing the nature of interpretation of the observed anomalies. Loops exist due to 2nd and higher order aspects of wave physics; hence, although such structures must exist in many tomographic studies in the physical sciences and medicine, they are unobservable using standard linearized methods. Higher order methods might fruitfully be adopted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number148501
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
Early online date6 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2015

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