Episode 188: A reality check on full-wave inversion with Öz Yilmaz

Öz Yilmaz returns to the podcast to highlight his award-winning article, “A reality check on full-wave inversion applied to land seismic data for near-surface modeling.”

In this conversation with host Andrew Geary, Öz assesses the accuracy of full-wave inversion applied to land seismic data for near-surface modeling. He elaborates on his definition of near-surface and explains why he believes full-wave inversion failed to yield an accurate near-surface model. Öz also describes how the seismic waves behave within the near-surface and what would make a good initial model for FWI.

Using his insightful and informative style, Öz provides invaluable information on some of the most important topics facing geophysicists. Öz breaks down complex issues into understandable and actionable takeaways. Do not miss this opportunity to learn from one of the best geophysicists working today.

Seismic Soundoff · 188: A reality check on full-wave inversion w/ Öz Yilmaz


Öz Yilmaz has provided the foundation for geophysicists around the world to learn, utilize, and optimize seismic reflection data acquisition and processing via a number of technical publications and four SEG-published massive and comprehensive texts. As a result, these methods are widely used for oil and gas exploration and near-surface engineering.

Yilmaz received his BS in geology with a geophysics option from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1970, his MS in geophysics in 1972 from Stanford University, with research in rock physics and earthquake seismology, and, after five years in the industry, his PhD in geophysics from Stanford University in 1979. Öz has worked in the seismic industry for 42 years; since 2000, he has broadened his interests in geophysics to include engineering and earthquake seismology.

Yilmaz’s first book, Seismic Data Processing, was published in 1987. This work was greatly expanded in a two-volume set, Seismic Data Analysis, published in 2001. In addition, Yilmaz published Engineering Seismology with Applications to Geotechnical Engineering in 2015 and Land Seismic Case Studies for Near-Surface Modeling and Subsurface Imaging in 2021.

His publications, along with the numerous courses and lectures he has given worldwide (he was an SEG Distinguished Lecturer in 1996 and an SEG Distinguished Instructor in 2015), have remarkably impacted a generation of geophysicists worldwide. Through lectures, courses, presentations at professional meetings, publications, and books, Yilmaz has enormously impacted many professionals’ careers by disseminating his knowledge and experience in exploration seismology and engineering seismology. Yilmaz has served SEG in numerous roles, including vice president of SEG during 1993–1994. He received the SEG Maurice Ewing Medal in 2022, the SEG Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal in 1991, and the EAGE Conrad Schlumberger Award in 1992.

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Seismic Soundoff explores the depth and usefulness of geophysics for the scientific community and the public. If you want to be the first to know about the next episode, please follow or subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Two of our favorites are Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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Zach Bridges created original music for this show. Andrew Geary hosted, edited, and produced this episode at TreasureMint. The SEG podcast team is Jennifer Cobb, Kathy Gamble, and Ally McGinnis.

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