The scalar images (PP, PS, SP, and SS) of elastic reverse time migration (ERTM) can be generated by applying an imaging condition as crosscorrelation of pure wave modes. In conventional ERTM, Helmholtz decomposition is commonly applied in wavefield separation, which leads to a polarity reversal problem in converted-wave images because of the opposite polarity distributions of the S-wavefields. Polarity reversal of the converted-wave image will cause destructive interference when stacking over multiple shots. Besides, in the 3D case, the curl calculation generates a vector S-wave, which makes it impossible to produce scalar PS, SP, and SS images with the crosscorrelation imaging condition. We evaluate a vector-based ERTM (VB-ERTM) method to address these problems. In VB-ERTM, an amplitude-preserved wavefield separation method based on decoupled elastic wave equation is exploited to obtain the pure wave modes. The output separated wavefields are both vectorial. To obtain the scalar images, the scalar imaging condition in which the scalar product of two vector wavefields with source-normalized illumination is exploited to produce scalar images instead of correlating Cartesian components or magnitude of the vector P- and S-wave modes. Compared with alternative methods for correcting the polarity reversal of PS and SP images, our ERTM solution is more stable and simple. Besides these four scalar images, the VB-ERTM method generates another PP-mode image by using the auxiliary stress wavefields. Several 2D and 3D numerical examples are evaluated to demonstrate the potential of our ERTM method.

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