Starting with a 1-D subsurface model, a method is developed for modeling and inverting the class of multiple reflections involving the near-perfect reflector at the free surface. A solution to the practical problem of estimating the source waveform is discussed, and application of the 1-D algorithm to field data illustrates the successful elimination of seafloor and peg-leg multiples. Extending the analysis to waves in two dimensions, we make the approximation that the subsurface behaves as an acoustic medium. Based on several numerical and theoretical considerations, the scalar wave equation is split into two separate partial differential equations: one governing propagation of upcoming waves and a second describing downgoing waves. The result is a pair of propagation equations which are coupled where reflectors exist. Finite difference approximations to the initial boundary value problem are developed to integrate numerically the surface reflection seismogram. Use of the 2-D algorithm for modeling free-surface multiple reflections is illustrated by several reflector models. The 2-D inverse problem of simultaneously migrating primary reflections and inverting diffracted multiples consists of reversing the forward calculation with the data as boundary conditions. Causal directions of propagation are related to downward continuation of surface data. Reflector mapping principles are used to develop a general reflection coefficient estimator. The inverse algorithm is illustrated using the results of the 2-D forward calculation as the boundary conditions.

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