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Modern subsurface exploration uses a three-dimensional (3-D) approach to interpret faults and layer boundaries on seismic reflection data. Three-dimensional seismic reflection datasets comprise a continuous volume of reflection samples with a vertical and horizontal resolution, of typically <15 m (c.50 ft). Increasing computer power has allowed the development of interpretation software that allows for direct mapping within an on-screen 3-D representation of the data. The seismic data volume can be processed to emphasize reflections from continuous layers, or to emphasize the discontinuities (e.g., faults) affecting those layers. A key workflow is to build the interpretation of horizons (layer boundaries) and faults into a consistent framework model, where all the stratigraphic and structural surfaces fit together in a geologically realistic way. Such a model is the necessary starting point for structural geological studies and for assessing trap geometry and viability. The framework model also provides the starting geometry for building an engineering model for simulating fluid flow in hydrocarbon reservoirs.

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