Recent Developments in Wave Equation Migration

Christof Stork

Christof Stork

Monday, September 23rd, 2002 – 11:30 AM
Telus Convention Centre 8th Ave SE, Calgary


As a result of recent developments, prestack wave equation migration is capable of producing dramatically improved sub-salt images over Kirchhoff depth migration and has become a hot technology in the Gulf of Mexico. It is possible that wave equation migration can help in other high velocity contrast areas such as granite over-thrust or basalt flows.

While the potential of wave equation migration has been known for a while, it has been impractical because of the very high computational cost. However, the convergence of two recent technology developments have suddenly brought the cost down considerably and made this technology very practical. These two technological developments are: the emergence of new algorithms that are more efficient and more accurate, and the emergence of PC clusters for reducing computer cost. We will describe these technologies and we will show migration results.

The development of wave equation migration has a very interesting history. The first wave equation migration was developed by Prof. Jon Claerbout in the 1970's, which helped start digital migration on computers. The wave equation migration methods have been improving ever since and the recent developments are the latest in a chain of improvements since Jon Claerbout's original migration. It is remarkable that a technology that has been in development for so long can still produce a dramatic improvement.


Christof Stork received his Ph.D. in 1987 from Caltech under Professor Rob Clayton. After a Postdoc at Stanford, Christof joined Amoco where he did research and worked exploration in the Choctaw overthrust area. He joined Advance Geophysical/Landmark Graphics in 1992 to write many of the now old velocity/migration routines in ProMAX. When moving to Norway in 1998, he joined Western Geophysical. After a brief stint with EDS cluster software development in 2001, Christof found himself back with Western after they bought EDS.