Full-waveform inversion (FWI) has the potential to provide a high-resolution detailed model of the earth’s subsurface, but it often fails to do so if the starting model differs significantly from the true one. Reflection waveform inversion (RWI) is a popular method for building a sufficiently accurate initial model for FWI. In traditional RWI, the low-wavenumber updates are always computed and captured by smearing the data misfit along the reflection path with the help of migration/demigration. However, the success of RWI relies heavily on accurately reproducing the data in demigration. Thus, we have introduced a new generalized internal multiple imaging-based RWI (GIMI-RWI) implementation, in which we avoid the Born modeling and update the primary reflection kernel directly. In GIMI-RWI, we store one reflection kernel for each source-receiver pair, preserving the unique wavepath for every single source-receiver trace. Subsequently, the convolution between the data residuals and the corresponding reflection kernel can build the tomographic velocity updates. In this situation, the long-wavelength tomographic updates are free of migration footprints and will contribute a smoother background velocity to reduce the cycle-skipping risk and stabilize the followed FWI process. In addition, the GIMI-RWI method is source independent because it entirely relies on the data. Using a synthetic example extracted from the Sigsbee2A model, we find the reliable performance of the GIMI-RWI technique.

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