(M.S. Dissertation)

Xiang Xiao, University of Utah

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We describe how VSP interferometric imaging of transmitted P-to-S (PS) waves can be used to delineate the flanks of salt bodies. Unlike traditional migration methods, interferometric PS imaging does not require the migration velocity model of the salt or upper sediments in order to image the salt flank. Synthetic elastic examples show that PS interferometric imaging can clearly delineate the upper and lower boundaries of a realistic salt body model. Results also show that PS interferometric imaging is noticeably more accurate than the conventional migration method in the presence of static shifts and/or migration velocity errors. However, the illumination area of the PS transmitted waves is limited by the width of the shot and geophone aperture, which means wide shot offsets and deeper receiver wells are needed for comprehensive salt flank imaging. Interferometric imaging results for VSP data from the Gulf of Mexico demonstrate its superiority over the traditional migration method. We also discuss other arrivals, such as Pp reflections, which can be used for interferometric imaging of salt flanks. For comparison, reduced-time migration results are also presented, which are similar in quality to those obtained for interferometric imaging. We conclude that PS interferometric imaging of VSP data provides the geophysicist with a new tool by which salt flanks can be viewed from both above and below the VSP geophone locations.