Diffraction imaging by focusing-defocusing: An outlook on seismic superresolution

V. Khaidukov*, Evgeny Landa, T. J. Moser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

369 Scopus citations


Diffractions always need more advertising. It is true that conventional seismic processing and migration are usually successful in using specular reflections to estimate subsurface velocities and reconstruct the geometry and strength of continuous and pronounced reflectors. However, correct identification of geological discontinuities, such as faults, pinch-outs, and small-size scattering objects, is one of the main objectives of seismic interpretation. The seismic response from these structural elements is encoded in diffractions, and diffractions are essentially lost during the conventional processing/migration sequence. Hence, we advocate a diffraction-based, data-oriented approach to enhance image resolution-as opposed to the traditional image-oriented techniques, which operate on the image after processing and migration. Even more: it can be shown that, at least in principle, processing of diffractions can lead to superresolution and the recovery of details smaller than the seismic wavelength. The so-called reflection stack is capable of effectively separating diffracted and reflected energy on a prestack shot gather by focusing the reflection to a point while the diffraction remains unfocused over a large area. Muting the reflection focus and defocusing the residual wavefield result in a shot gather that contains mostly diffractions. Diffraction imaging applies the classical (isotropic) diffraction stack to these diffraction shot gathers. This focusing-muting-defocusing approach can successfully image faults, small-size scattering objects, and diffracting edges. It can be implemented both in model-independent and model-dependent contexts. The resulting diffraction images can greatly assist the interpreter when used as a standard supplement to full-wave images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1478-1490
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Diffraction imaging by focusing-defocusing: An outlook on seismic superresolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this