In deep crustal reflection study, as in conventional exploration seismology, it is important to determine the geometry of the physical contrasts between rocks that cause reflections, to make reliable geologic interpretations. Fundamentally different reflecting structures produce similar signatures in stacked seismic sections. We have developed a method that uses prestack records to differentiate lateral structural variations from lateral reflectivity variations and laterally homogeneous structures. Full-wave acoustic multioffset synthetics of canonical 2-D reflector configurations, analyzed by statistically enhanced slant-stack processes, show that lateral heterogeneity such as a wavy reflector can be identified from changes in slowness across a receiver array as a function of time. Application of these methods to deep crustal reflections, recorded in the Mojave Desert of southern California, identifies laterally heterogeneous midcrustal structures and is consistent with a laterally homogeneous Moho.

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