Existing diffraction theory is often cast in such a way as to preclude a ready qualitative understanding of diffraction phenomena. This difficulty can be overcome by making simplifying but realistic approximations which permit the diffractive response of an arbitrary subsurface with point-source excitation to be obtained in a simple closed form. The main approximations are that the subsurface behaves as an acoustic medium, that its average velocity is constant, and that its reflectivity is low. An objective of this paper is to provide the field interpreter with a practical understanding of diffraction behavior.
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The use of diffraction imaging to complement the seismic reflection method is rapidly gaining momentum in the oil and gas industry. As the industry moves toward exploiting smaller and more complex conventional reservoirs and extensive new unconventional resource plays, the application of the seismic diffraction method to image sub-wavelength features such as small-scale faults, fractures and stratigraphic pinchouts is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years. “Seismic Diffraction” covers seismic diffraction theory, modeling, observation, and imaging. Papers and discussion include an overview of seismic diffractions, including classic papers which introduced the potential of diffraction phenomena in seismic processing; papers on the forward modeling of seismic diffractions, with an emphasis on the theoretical principles; papers which describe techniques for diffraction mathematical modeling as well as laboratory experiments for the physical modeling of diffractions; key papers dealing with the observation of seismic diffractions, in near-surface-, reservoir-, as well as crustal studies; and key papers on diffraction imaging.