We have developed a robust algorithm for designing explicit depth extrapolation operators using the projections-onto-convex-sets (POCS) method. The operators are optimal in the sense that they satisfy all required extrapolation design characteristics. In addition, we propose a simple modification of the POCS algorithm (modified POCS, or MPOCS) that further enhances the stability of extrapolated wavefields and reduces the number of iterations required to design such operators to approximately 2% of that required for the basic POCS design algorithm. Various synthetic tests show that 25-coefficient 1D extrapolation operators, which have 13 unique coefficients, can accommodate dip angles up to 70°. We migrated the SEG/EAGE salt model data with the operators and compare our results with images obtained via extrapolators based on modified Taylor series and with wavefield extrapolation techniques such as phase shift plus interpolation (PSPI) and split-step Fourier. The MPOCS algorithm provides practically stable depth extrapolators. The resulting migrated section is comparable in quality to an expensive PSPI result and visibly outperforms the other two techniques. Strong dips and subsalt structures are imaged clearly. Finally, we extended the 1D extrapolator design algorithm, using MPOCS for 2D extrapolation, to the 2D case to perform 3D extrapolation; the result is a perfect circularly symmetric migration impulse response.

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