A key component in 3-D AVO analysis, which is being used more and more as a tool for hydrocarbon exploration and field development, is prestack processing that preserves amplitudes. Prestack time migration (PSTM) is adequate when dealing with simple geologic structures (e.g., those with relatively flat or gently dipping layers) that have little lateral velocity variation.

However, PSTM is not adequate in more complex settings, such as the salt dome structures that are widespread in the Gulf of Mexico (Figure 1). These structures have large lateral velocity variations due to thinning and thickening of sediment layers around the...

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