Distinguishing between diffractions and true reflections is often difficult and may lead to misinterpretations. In the Molasse zone of Upper Austria, numerous faults were established by seismic surveying. Diffractions were observed at several antithetic faults but not at synthetic faults. As an example, a seismic record section of the Steindlberg structure is shown. The reflections from the base of Tertiary and from the Cretaceous-Jurassic contact run parallel oveT long distances, and so do the less important reflections lying above and between. If, contrary to the general trend, the reflection from the base of the Tertiary approaches the underlying reflection from the Cretaceous-Jurassic contact, or if the latter diverges from the former, this is considered a criterion for a diffraction.
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The use of diffraction imaging to complement the seismic reflection method is rapidly gaining momentum in the oil and gas industry. As the industry moves toward exploiting smaller and more complex conventional reservoirs and extensive new unconventional resource plays, the application of the seismic diffraction method to image sub-wavelength features such as small-scale faults, fractures and stratigraphic pinchouts is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years. “Seismic Diffraction” covers seismic diffraction theory, modeling, observation, and imaging. Papers and discussion include an overview of seismic diffractions, including classic papers which introduced the potential of diffraction phenomena in seismic processing; papers on the forward modeling of seismic diffractions, with an emphasis on the theoretical principles; papers which describe techniques for diffraction mathematical modeling as well as laboratory experiments for the physical modeling of diffractions; key papers dealing with the observation of seismic diffractions, in near-surface-, reservoir-, as well as crustal studies; and key papers on diffraction imaging.