We compare various forms of single-arrival Kirchhoff prestack depth migration to a full-waveform, finite-difference migration image, using synthetic seismic data generated from the structurally complex 2-D Marmousi velocity model. First-arrival-traveltime Kirchhoff migration produces severe artifacts and image contamination in regions of the depth model where significant reflection energy propagates as late or multiple arrivals in the total reflection wavefield. Kirchhoff migrations using maximum-energy-arrival traveltime trajectories significantly improve the image in the complex zone of the Marmousi model, but are not as coherent as the finite-difference migration image. By carefully incorporating continuous phase estimates with the associated maximum-energy arrival traveltimes, we obtain single-arrival Kirchhoff images that are similar in quality to the finite-difference migration image. Furthermore, maximum-energy Green's function traveltime and phase values calculated within the seismic frequency band give a Kirchhoff image that is (1) far superior to a first-arrival-based image, (2) much better than the analogous high-frequency paraxial-ray Green's function image, and (3) closely matched in quality to the full-waveform finite-difference migration image.

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