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Book Chapter


January 01, 2011


Accurate interpretation of geophysical data — in particular, reflection seismic data — is one of the most important elements of a successful oil and gas exploration program. Despite technological advances in data acquisition and processing and the regular use of powerful computers and sophisticated software applications, you still face a tremendous challenge each time you begin to reconstruct the geologic story contained in a grid or volume of seismic data — that is, to interpret the data. On occasion, this interpretive tale can be clearly told; but most of the time, each page of each chapter is slowly turned, and rarely is the full meaning of the story completely understood.

Where the correlation of one reflection record with another is very easy, little needs to be said. Almost anyone can understand such a correlation. On the other hand, this is a rare occurrence. The usual thing is for the correlation to be so difficult as to be impossible. It is for this reason that correlation procedure can hardly be described in words (Dix, 1952).

Although Dix is speaking about the correlation of individual reflection records, which were used routinely before the advent of continuous common-depth-point (CDP) profiling, he clearly recognized the essence of interpretation as the considered extraction of geologic information from indirect geophysical measurements. His words are no less relevant and applicable now than they were 60 years ago, even in view of the high standards of data quality made possible by advances in seismic acquisition and processing, to say nothing of accompanying developments in interpretation technology. In the modern interpretation environment, you still face correlations that are “so difficult as to be impossible“ because these correlations define the frontiers of opportunity, the ones posing the sternest challenges and ultimately leading to the greatest rewards.

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Society of Exploration Geophysicists Geophysical Monograph Series

First Steps in Seismic Interpretation

Donald A. Herron
Donald A. Herron
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Society of Exploration Geophysicists
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January 01, 2011




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