Laboratory on Reverse Time Migration

John Dunbar
Baylor University
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Students use an finite element wave propagation program running on a PC to model the forward and reverse wave propagation steps in reverse time migration. Conceptual understanding is aided by watching the simultaneous evolution of the subsurface wave field and the formation of the associated seismic section.

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Senior undergraduate and first year graduate. Designed for a geophysics course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

1. Ray theory models of travel time curves for reflected waves in layered media and from point scatterers.
2. An introduction to the wave equation, which includes its derivation from first principles, analytical solutions for homogeneous media, and boundary conditions

How the activity is situated in the course

This lab is given late in the semester, after much work on ray theory, the wave equation, and digital signal processing.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The goal is for the students to develop an understanding of how the migration process works by watching the image form.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

The students need to relate the characteristics of the wave equation to how wave propagate in simple Earth models. They need to reconcile how results based on ray theory differ in some aspects and are similar in other aspects, to results from wave theory.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Addresses student fear of quantitative aspect and/or inadequate quantitative skills

Determining whether students have met the goals

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