Skip to main content

A visual guide to imaging with the wave equation

Reflection imaging, with either radar or seismic waves, is a powerful tool for probing the earth’s subsurface.  However, the data we record in the field gives a distorted picture and accurate imaging requires that we focus the data.  To focus the data, we utilize a broad class of methodologies collectively referred to as migration.  Because of gains in computational power, the last ten years has seen a particular method known as reverse-time migration become the preferred approach to migration.  It is preferred because it utilizes the full wave equation and therefore requires no approximation in the solution.  Through pictures and movies, I will demonstrate how reverse-time migration works and show why it is such a powerful imaging tool.