Elastic reverse time migration (RTM) has the ability to retrieve accurately migrated images of complex subsurface structures by imaging the multicomponent seismic data. However, the imaging condition applied in elastic RTM significantly influences the quality of the migrated images. We evaluated three kinds of imaging conditions in elastic RTM. The first kind of imaging condition involves the crosscorrelation between the Cartesian components of the particle-velocity wavefields to yield migrated images of subsurface structures. An alternative crosscorrelation imaging condition between the separated pure wave modes obtained by a Helmholtz-like decomposition method could produce reflectivity images with explicit physical meaning and fewer crosstalk artifacts. A drawback of this approach, though, was that the polarity reversal of the separated S-wave could cause destructive interference in the converted-wave image after stacking over multiple shots. Unlike the conventional decomposition method, the elastic wavefields can also be decomposed in the vector domain using the decoupled elastic wave equation, which preserves the amplitude and phase information of the original elastic wavefields. We have developed an inner-product imaging condition to match the vector-separated P- and S-wave modes to obtain scalar reflectivity images of the subsurface. Moreover, an auxiliary P-wave stress image can supplement the elastic imaging. Using synthetic examples with a layered model, the Marmousi 2 model, and a fault model, we determined that the inner-product imaging condition has prominent advantages over the other two imaging conditions and generates images with preserved amplitude and phase attributes.

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