We have conducted seismic modeling of common fold-thrust structures to understand the common geologic parameters influencing seismic data and to understand the common pitfalls associated with interpreting prestack time migration (PSTM) and prestack depth migration (PSDM) data. Mode 1 fault-bend folds are generally well-imaged in PSTM data, provided the correct migration velocities are used for the dipping back and front limbs. Seismic pull-ups of the footwall related to lateral velocity variations can result in problems in interpreting the fault geometry and the subthrust area underlying the crest. Fault-tip fault-propagation folds also show significant footwall pull-ups and show poor to no imaging of the steep front limbs. The geometry of trishear fault-propagation folds is dependent on the maximum slip on the fault (S) and the fault propagation to slip ratio (P/S ratio). We found that the slip has a strong influence on the dip of the front limb and therefore the quality of imaging whereas the P/S ratio, which controls the degree of folding versus thrust faulting, has only a secondary effect. For the front limb, only the area near the synclinal axial plan is well-imaged, so that the fault geometry and extent of propagation are typically difficult to interpret. The front limb dips are also sensitive to the accuracy of the rms velocity model used for migration. Lower velocities result in steeper dipping reflectors, whereas higher velocities result in shallower dips. In general, PSDM provides better imaging of the structures; however, the accuracy and quality of the image are dependent on the velocity models and interpretation derived from the PSTM data.

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