In recent years, wave-equation migration has greatly enhanced imaging in complex velocity models. However, velocity model building is still dependent on ray-theory approximations. We propose a full wave-equation methodology for velocity model building based on the nonlinear inversion of a semblance criterion with respect to the velocity field. A newly described type of migration, called the modulated-shot migration, is used to obtain the necessary gathers, which are indexed in surface angle. The semblance of these gathers, after spatial averaging, is used as the cost function. This methodology is shown to successfully image the Marmousi model and the subsalt part of the Sigsbee model, especially in terms of focusing, which is as good as with the true model, but also in terms of depthing which is enhanced compared with the initial model. Realistic constraints are used in terms of minimum frequency, maximum offset, and crudeness of the starting model. A key point in the success of this methodology is the multiscale approach wherein the iterations are started on a coarse scale, and ended at a finer scale.

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