Kirchhoff migration is the most popular method of three-dimensional prestack depth migration because of its flexibility and efficiency. Its effectiveness can become limited, however, when complex velocity structure causes multipathing of seismic energy. An alternative is Gaussian beam migration, which is an extension of Kirchhoff migration that overcomes many of the problems caused by multipathing. Unlike first-arrival and most-energetic-arrival methods, which retain only one traveltime, this alternative method retains most arrivals by the superposition of Gaussian beams.

This paper presents a prestack Gaussian beam migration method that operates on common-offset gathers. The method is efficient because the computation of beam superposition isolates summations that do not depend on the seismic data and evaluates these integrals by considering their saddle points. Gaussian beam migration of the two-dimensional Marmousi test data set demonstrates the method's effectiveness for structural imaging in a case where there is multipathing of seismic energy.

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