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Book Chapter

Seismic wave velocities

Published:
January 01, 1980

Abstract

This brief chapter is included prior to embarking on the central theme so as to remind us of the physical rock properties which ultimately govern all seismic wave propagation.

Seismic wave velocity pertains to the speed of a seismic disturbance propagating through a material medium; it is a physical property of the medium. Particle velocity, on the other hand, refers to the actual motion of a local portion of the medium; it is a function of the disturbance of the medium rather than a property of the medium.

Whereas seismic wave velocities have dimensions of thousands of meters per second, particle velocities are typically in the order of millionths of a meter per second. We will not discuss particle velocity further in this work as it relates more to the dynamics than kinematics (i.e., amplitude rather than traveltime) of wave propagation.

Many field, laboratory, and theoretical studies have been devoted to the problem of determining seismic wave velocities and establishing empirical and analytical laws between these velocities and the various parameters that influence them (Faust, 1951; Gassmann, 1951; Wyllie et al, 1956, 1958; Press, 1966; Gardner et al, 1974a; Domenico, 1974; Toksoz et al, 1976; and Timur, 1977).

Temperature and pressure (which are dependent mainly on depth), as well as lithology, grain packing, porosity, and cementation all affect seismic wave velocity. Variations in lithology and the fluid and gas content of a porous rock can be important sources of strong velocity variation. Likewise, microfracturing can cause major reductions in material

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Contents

Interval Velocities from Seismic Reflection Time Measurements

Peter Hubral
Peter Hubral
Bundesanstalt fiir Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe Rohstoffe Hannover, West Germany
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Theodor Krey
Theodor Krey
Consultant Prakla-Seismos Hannover, West Germany
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L.Larner Kenneth
L.Larner Kenneth
Western Geophysical Company Houston, Texas
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Society of Exploration Geophysicists
ISBN electronic:
9781560802501
Publication date:
January 01, 1980

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