Prestack velocity analysis in areas of complex structure is a coupled migration and transmission inversion problem that can be analyzed from a tomographic perspective. By making as few a priori assumptions about the solution as possible in parameterizing the inverse problem, generalized tomographic velocity analysis is applicable to a wide range of geologic cases. Constraints modify the method to the unique characteristics of each application.The ray trace/traveltime formulation for tomography, as proposed by Bishop et al. (1985), provides a conceptual tool for presenting features that are important to automated prestack velocity analysis in complex structure, such as (1) the coupling of the velocity field to the reflector positions, (2) the nonuniform coverage of the model by the data, (3) the ability to perform a controlled inversion of large matrices over a wide eigenvalue range, and (4) the implementation of constraints in the inversion. These features may impact other automated prestack velocity analysis methods for reflection seismology.

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