Determining the propagation direction of waves in a wavefield is important in several seismic imaging techniques and applications, including velocity analysis, amplitude variation with angle analysis, survey design, and illumination compensation. This can be achieved using the Poynting vector method, but this method performs poorly when waves overlap, returning incorrect wave amplitude and direction. An alternative, the local slowness method, is capable of separating overlapping waves, but it suffers from low angular resolution. We have developed modifications of these two approaches that improve the ability to extract the wave amplitude propagating in different directions. The primary modification is the addition of a wavefront orientation separation step. We have evaluated the methods’ ability to separate six overlapping waves with different phases in a constant velocity model, to accurately determine scattering angles in the construction of an angle domain image gather, and to determine the propagation directions of the back-propagated receiver wavefield for one shot in a 2D slice of the SEAM model. We have determined that in these examples, the proposed methods produce results that are generally superior to those of the Poynting vector and local slowness methods.

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