The advent of the network, or “cluster,” of modern personal computers has enabled prestack 3D “wave equation” methods, such as common-shot migration, to become practical alternatives to standard Kirchhoff depth migration. Clusters have overcome hardware limitations (cost-effective memory and speed) that previously limited the widespread use of these wave equation algorithms.

Prestack Kirchhoff migration is efficient and easily adapts to various data acquisition geometries, while its steep-dip and high-resolution imaging capabilities are unparalleled. Traveltime calculations, typically by ray tracing, are fundamental to conventional Kirchhoff migration. However, propagating wavefronts become complicated when traveling through complex geology; for example, a simple spherical...

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