Kirchhoff 3-D prestack migration, as part of its execution, requires repeated access to a usually large traveltime table data base. Access to this data base implies either a memory intensive or I/O bounded solution to the storage problem. Proper compression of the traveltime table allows efficient 3-D prestack migration without relying on the usually slow access to the computer hard-drive. Such compression also allows for faster access to desirable parts of the traveltime table. Compression is applied to the traveltime field for each source location on the surface on a regular grid using 3-D cosine transforms of the traveltime field represented in the Celerity domain. We obtain practical compression levels up to and exceeding 20 to 1. In fact, because of the smaller size traveltime table, we obtain exceptional traveltime extraction speed during migration that exceeds conventional methods. Additional features of the compression include better interpolation of traveltime tables and more stable estimates of amplitudes from traveltime curvatures.


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