Abstract

Seismic depth migration aims to produce an image of seismic reflection interfaces. Ray methods are suitable for subsurface target-oriented imaging and are less costly compared to two-way wave-equation-based migration, but break down in cases when a complex velocity structure gives rise to the appearance of caustics. Ray methods also have difficulties in correctly handling the different branches of the wavefront that result from wave propagation through a caustic. On the other hand, migration methods based on the two-way wave equation, referred to as reverse-time migration, are known to be capable of dealing with these problems. However, they are very expensive, especially in the 3D case. It can be prohibitive if many iterations are needed, such as for velocity-model building. Our method relies on the calculation of the Green functions for the classical wave equation by per-forming a summation of Gaussian beams for the direct and back-propagated wavefields. The subsurface image is obtained by cal-culating the coherence between the direct and backpropagated wavefields. To a large extent, our method combines the advantages of the high computational speed of ray-based migration with the high accuracy of reverse-time wave-equation migration because it can overcome problems with caustics, handle all arrivals, yield good images of steep flanks, and is readily extendible to target-oriented implementation. We have demonstrated the quality of our method with several state-of-the-art benchmark subsurface models, which have velocity variations up to a high degree of complexity. Our algorithm is especially suited for efficient imaging of selected subsurface subdomains, which is a large advantage particularly for 3D imaging and velocity-model refinement applications such as subsalt velocity-model improvement. Because our method is also capable of providing highly accurate migration results in structurally complex subsurface settings, we have also included the concept of true-amplitude imaging in our migration technique.

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