Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Digital Imaging

January 01, 2008


In the past, most seismic surveys were along surface lines, which yield 2D subsurface images. Because of great strides in computer technology and seismic instrumentation, exploration geophysics has made the transition from 2D to 3D processing.

The wave equation behaves nicely in one dimension and in three dimensions but not in two dimensions. In one dimension, waves on a uniform string propagate without distortion. In three dimensions, waves in a homogeneous isotropic medium propagate in an undistorted way except for a spherical correction factor. However, in two dimensions, wave propagation is complicated and distorted. By its very nature, 2D processing never can account for events originating outside of the plane. As a result, 2D processing is broken up into a large number of approximate partial steps in a sequence of operations. These steps are ingenious, but they never can give a true image.

On the other hand, 3D processing accounts for all of the events. It is now cost-effective to lay out seismic surveys over a surface area and to do 3D processing. No longer is the third dimension missing, so consequently, the need for a large number of piecemeal 2D approximations is gone. Prestack depth migration is a 3D imaging process that is computationally extensive but mathematically simple. The resulting 3D images of the interior of the earth surpass all expectations in utility and beauty.

Reflection seismology is a remote-imaging method used in petroleum exploration. The seismic reflection method was developed in the 1920s. From then until about 1965,

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables


Society of Exploration Geophysicists Geophysical References Series

Digital Imaging and Deconvolution: The ABCs of Seismic Exploration and Processing

Enders A. Robinson
Enders A. Robinson
Search for other works by this author on:
Sven Treitel
Sven Treitel
Search for other works by this author on:
Society of Exploration Geophysicists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2008




Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal