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What is migration?

Migration is a process which removes the effects of wave propagation from seismic

Geological Model Seismic Section Section after migration

Migration is the process that moves the data on our stacked seismic section into its
correct position in both space and time. Even after NMO and DMO corrections,
reflections from dipping events are plotted on stack section in the wrong place. They
need to be moved "up-dip" along a hyperbolic curve in order to put them in the right
place, the shape of this hyperbola depending on the velocity field. Before we start to
look at some of the methods of migration, let's look at the appearance of some
simple structures on our stacked section.
Seismic data is generated by waves propagating through a subsurface. The image
that is obtained in this process is a distorted image that does not correctly reflect the
true geometry of the subsurface structure. While a horizontal reflector in depth will
appear as a horizontal reflector on the time section, a dipping reflector is always
incorrectly positioned on the seismic section. It is the task of migration to correct this
mispositioning. This effect is demonstrated in Fig. 2. The true position of the reflector
in depth differs from its position on the time section.




Fig.2 The apparent dip of an event on a zero offset stack section is less than the true dip of the event.


Fig.3 showing flat horizon

S = Source

R = Receiver

CMP= Common Mid Point

We assume a horizontal reflector is flat with a homogeneous medium and constant
velocity. In this case the CDP is positioned on the CMP or zero offset two way travel
time. See Fig.3.


Fig.4 showing dipping horizon

At a dipping horizon, the CMP gather will have a spread of reflection point. The
lateral and vertical positions are different, as well as the dip of the reflector. A dipping
reflector is always incorrectly positioned on the seismic section. See Fig.4.

The migration process removes the effect of wave propagation from the recorded
seismic data, and as a result, seismic events move toward their correct subsurface
Before Migration

After Migration