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Published as Geophysics, 73 , no. 5, VE145-VE159, (2008)

Numeric implementation of
wave-equation migration velocity analysis operators

Paul Sava (Colorado School of Mines)


Ioan Vlad (StatoilHydro),


Wave-equation migration velocity analysis (MVA) is a technique similar to wave-equation tomography because it is designed to update velocity models using information derived from full seismic wavefields. On the other hand, wave-equation MVA is similar to conventional, traveltime-based MVA because it derives the information used for model updates from properties of migrated images, e.g. focusing and moveout. The main motivation for using wave-equation MVA is derived from its consistency with the corresponding wave-equation migration, which makes this technique robust and capable of handling multipathing characterizing media with large and sharp velocity contrasts. The wave-equation MVA operators are constructed using linearizations of conventional wavefield extrapolation operators, assuming small perturbations relative to the background velocity model. Similarly to typical wavefield extrapolation operators, the wave-equation MVA operators can be implemented in the mixed space-wavenumber domain using approximations of different orders of accuracy.

As for wave-equation migration, wave-equation MVA can be formulated in different imaging frameworks, depending on the type of data used and image optimization criteria. Examples of imaging frameworks correspond to zero-offset migration (designed for imaging based on focusing properties of the image), survey-sinking migration (designed for imaging based on moveout analysis using narrow-azimuth data) and shot-record migration (also designed for imaging based on moveout analysis, but using wide-azimuth data).

The wave-equation MVA operators formulated for the various imaging frameworks are similar because they share common elements derived from linearizations of the single square-root equation. Such operators represent the core of iterative velocity estimation based on diffraction focusing or semblance analysis, and their applicability in practice requires efficient and accurate implementation. This tutorial concentrates strictly on the numeric implementation of those operators and not on their use for iterative migration velocity analysis.

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