Of the various factors which influence reflection amplitudes in a seismic recording, divergence effects are possibly of least direct interest to the interpreter. Nevertheless, proper compensation for these effects is mandatory if reflection amplitudes are to be of diagnostic value.
For an earth model consisting of horizontal, isotropic layers, and assuming a point source, we apply ray theory to determine an expression for amplitude correction factors in terms of initial incidence, source-receiver offset, and reflector depth. The special case of zero offset yields an expression in terms of two-way traveltime, velocity in the initial layer, and the time-weighted rms velocity which characterizes reflections.
For this model it follows that information which is needed for divergence compensation in the region of normal incidence is available from the customary analysis of normal moveout (NMO). It is hardly surprising that NMO and divergence effects are intimately related when one considers the expanding wavefront situation which is responsible for both phenomena. However, it is evident that an amplitude correction which is appropriate for the primary reflection sequence cannot in general be appropriate for the multiples. At short offset distances the disparity in displayed amplitude varies as the square of the ratio of primary to multiple rms velocities, and favors the multiples.
These observations are relevant to a number of concepts which are founded upon plane-wave theory, notably multiple attenuation processes and record synthesis inclusive of multiples.