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Exploration geophysics is a young, hybrid science developed during the last 60 years to aid the geologist. Geophysical methods include measurements of the earth's magnetic, gravitational, and electrical fields; however, seismic recording of propagating elastic waves constitutes the principal method for mapping hydrocarbon deposits, accounting for more than 94 percent of all expenditures in geophysical activity (cf., Oil and Gas J., September 14, 1981). Modern exploration seismology uses advanced technology from many diverse fields such as communications engineering, electronics, information retrieval, telemetry, and optics.

Seismic profiles provide a cross-section of the subsurface revealing structural details such as faults, folds, anticlines, and synclines. In some cases compositional information such as porosity, permeability, water saturation, and hydrocarbon content can also be predicted. Presently, seismic data provide the most reliable means of acquiring subsurface structural and stratigraphic information without drilling wells.

The combined use of geology and seismology greatly reduces the risks involved in oil and gas exploration. The success rate of new-field wildcats in the United States was much higher for the years 1979–1980 than ever before, as shown in Figure 1. These statistics correlate directly with major advances in seismic technology (Crook, 1979), underlining the importance of improved geophysical methods.

The seismic crew count has historically been a leading indicator of oil and gas activity. The crews record and process massive amounts of seismic data on a routine basis for the oil industry. Seismic surveys are carried out on a surface grid in order to build a

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