3D reverse-time migration using the acoustic wave equation: An experience with the SEG/EAGE data set

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Yoon, Kwangjin; Shin, Changsoo; Suh, Sangyong; Lines, Larry R.; Hong, Soonduk

Issue Date
Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG)
The Leading Edge 22, 38 (2003)
Kirchhoff is the most commonly used 3D prestack migration
algorithm because of its speed and other economic advantages,
but it uses a high-frequency ray approximation to the
wave equation and, therefore, has difficulties in imaging complex
geologic structures where multipathing occurs (e.g.,
beneath rugose horizons such as faulted salt domes where traveltime
calculations become difficult).
In contrast to Kirchhoff migration, reverse-time migration
computes numerical solutions to the complete wave equation
and, therefore, is potentially more accurate. But this technique
is not popular in the industry because it is computationally
intensive and expensive. However, we felt some recent developments
would allow 3D reverse-time migration to be done
relatively inexpensively on PC-based distributed memory
In order to examine this hypothesis, we implemented
reverse-time migration on a PC cluster by using higher-order
accuracy finite difference algorithms (Wu et al., 1996), an excitation
time approach (Chang and McMechan, 1994), and variable
grids (Mufti et al., 1996) to reduce memory and CPU time.
We then used the pseudo-spectral method—following Gazdag
(1981), Kosloff and Baysal (1982), and Fornberg (1987)—to further
reduce CPU time and core memory requirements.
In this article, we compare our reverse-time migration
images with first-arrival Kirchhoff migration images to demonstrate
that 3D reverse-time migration can produce high fidelity
images under the PC-based distributed memory cluster machine.
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