Amplitude variation with offset (AVO) analysis is often limited to areas where multidimensional propagation effects such as reflector dip and diffractions from faults can be ignored. Migration-inversion provides a framework for extending the use of seismic amplitudes to areas where structural or stratigraphic effects are important. In this procedure, sources and receivers are downward continued into the earth using uncollapsed prestack migration. Instead of stacking the data as in normal migration, the prestack migrated data are used in AVO analysis or other inversion techniques to infer local earth properties. The prestack migration can take many forms. In particular, prestack time migration of common-angle sections provides a convenient tool for improving the lateral resolution and spatial positioning of AVO anomalies. In this approach, a plane-wave decomposition is first applied in the offset direction, separating the wavefield into different propagating angles. The data are then gathered into common-angle sections and migrated one angle at a time. The common-angle migrations have a simple form and are shown to adequately preserve amplitude as a function of angle. Normal AVO analysis is then applied to the prestack migrated data. Examples using seismic lines from the Gulf of Mexico show how migration improves AVO analysis. In the first set of examples, migration is shown to improve imaging of subtle spatial variations in bright spots. Subsequent AVO analysis reveals dim spots associated with dry-hole locations that were not resolvable using traditional processing techniques, including both conventional AVO and poststack migration. A second set of examples shows improvements in AVO response after migration is used to reduce interference from coherent noise and diffractions. A final example shows the impact of migration on the spatial location of dipping AVO anomalies. In all cases, migration improves both the signal-to-noise ratio and spatial resolution of AVO anomalies.

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