The separation of P- and S-wavefields is considered to be an effective approach for eliminating wave-mode crosstalk in elastic reverse time migration (RTM). At present, the Helmholtz decomposition method is widely used for isotropic media. However, it tends to change the amplitudes and phases of the separated wavefields compared with the original wavefields. Other methods used to obtain pure P- and S-wavefields include the application of the elastic wave equations of the decoupled wavefields. To achieve high computational accuracy, staggered-grid finite-difference (FD) schemes are usually used to numerically solve the equations by introducing an additional stress variable. However, the computational cost of this method is high because a conventional hybrid wavefield (the P- and S-wavefields are mixed together) simulation must be created before the P- and S-wavefields can be calculated. We have developed the first-order particle velocity equations to reduce the computational cost. The equations can describe four types of particle-velocity wavefields: the vector P-wavefield, the scalar P-wavefield, the vector S-wavefield, and the vector S-wavefield rotated in the direction of the curl factor. Without introducing the stress variable, only the four types of particle velocity variables are used to construct the staggered-grid FD schemes; therefore, the computational cost is reduced. We also develop an algorithm to calculate the P and S propagation vectors using the four particle velocities, which is simpler than the Poynting vector. Finally, we apply the velocity equations and propagation vectors to elastic RTM and angle-domain common-image gather computations. These numerical examples illustrate the efficiency of our methods.

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