The separation of up- and downgoing wavefields is an important technique in the processing of multicomponent recorded data, propagating wavefields, and reverse time migration (RTM). Most of the previous methods for separating up/down propagating wavefields can be grouped according to their implementation strategy: a requirement to save time steps to perform Fourier transform over time or construction of the analytical wavefield through a solution of the wave equation twice (one for the source and another for the Hilbert-transformed source), in which both strategies have a high computational cost. For computing the analytical wavefield, we are proposing an alternative method based on the first-order partial equation in time and by just solving the wave equation once. Our strategy improves the computation of wavefield separation, and it can bring the causal imaging condition into practice. For time extrapolation, we are using the rapid expansion method to compute the wavefield and its first-order time derivative and then we can compute the analytical wavefield. By computing the analytical wavefield, we can, therefore, separate the wavefield into up- and downgoing components for each time step in an explicit way. Applications to synthetic models indicate that our method allows performing the wavefield decomposition similarly to the conventional method, as well as a potential application for the 3D case. For RTM applications, we can now use the causal imaging condition for several synthetic examples. Acoustic RTM up/down decomposition demonstrates that it can successfully remove the low-frequency noise, which is common in the typical crosscorrelation imaging condition, and it is usually removed by applying a Laplacian filter. Moreover, our method is efficient in terms of computational time when compared to RTM using an analytical wavefield computed by two propagations, and it is a little more costly than conventional RTM using the crosscorrelation imaging condition.

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