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Even if most difficulties in using shear waves today have been significantly reduced, shear waves remain more difficult to operate than compressional waves, and often do not produce a better seismic image. Shear wave use has to be justified by bringing additional information. While some advantages to using shear waves have already been identified, we can expect further shear wave applications to be revealed as technology advances, particularly processing, amplitude preservation and imaging technologies.

In practice today, and in the following text, to use shear waves means to use shear and compressional waves together, even though the final shear wave image is the object of the exercise. This mainly occurs for practical reasons:

  • Acquiring shear waves most often means acquiring PS converted waves, thus additional recording of P waves is of marginal cost.

  • Even when the shear mode version is expected to be the best one, prior P wave processing of the same survey will greatly help shear mode processing.

The following situations and examples illustrate how shear waves can make an efficient contribution. These cases will be examined in more detail in Section 6 on interpretation.

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