B. A. Hardage, 1985. "Vertical Seismic Profiling—A Measurement that Transfers Geology to Geophysics", Seismic Stratigraphy II: An Integrated Approach to Hydrocarbon Exploration, Orville Roger Berg, Donald G. Woolverton
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Vertical seismic profiling (commonly abbreviated to the shorter name VSP) is one of the rapidly developing areas of geophysical technology in the Western hemisphere. The measurement basically involves recording the total upgoing and downgoing seismic wavefields propagating through a stratigraphic section by means of geophones clamped to the wall of a drilled well. In most seismic measurements, both the energy source and the receivers are positioned on the earth's surface. What happens to the seismic wavelet as it propagates from the source to a subsurface reflector and back to the receivers is mostly a matter of inference based on the characteristics of the source and on the properties of the wavefield measured at the surface. Vertical seismic profiling replaces much of this inference with several closely-spaced direct physical measurements of the seismic wavefield in the real earth conditions that exist between the earth's surface and the subsurface reflector. These measurements are proving to be invaluable in structural, stratigraphic, and lithological interpretations of the subsurface and are particularly valuable when combined with surface-recorded seismic data covering a prospective area around a VSP well.
VSP wavefield measurements provide two vital pieces of information needed in seismic stratigraphy: (1) they calibrate seismic signals in terms of the geology that exists at the depths where upgoing reflections are created; and (2) they provide an additional, and usually an improved, image of subsurface geology near a VSP well. Several examples of VSP data will be shown and discussed in order to illustrate how vertical seismic profiling accomplishes these two objectives of seismic calibration and geological imaging.
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The publication of AAPG Memoir 26 opened up a whole new field to the exploration community. The material contained in that publication demonstrated the relationship of seismic data to the geology of the subsurface in greater detail than previously thought possible. In the years that have followed great effort has gone into refining and advancing the principles and methods of seismic stratigraphy. The goal of this Memoir 39 publication is to provide 15 papers which present and document the advances and refinements in seismic stratigraphic princples and methods that have occurred since the publication of Memoir 26. These articles help the geologist, geophysicist, and manager to keep abreast of this rapidly developing field and provide some guidelines for the evaluation of stratigraphically controlled prospects.