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Book Chapter

1: Introduction and Historical Review

January 01, 1991

Until the 1970s, applications of seismology in petroleum exploration were limited, to a great extent, to P-wave energy recorded on single-component vertical geophones or pressure sensitive hydrophones. With the advent of S-wave recording in the 1970s, use of both vertically and horizontally polarized sources and multicomponent receivers has become more common. Thus, applications of S-wave technology have led the exploration geophysicist to multicomponent recording, including use of both multicomponent sources and receivers.

The following review traces the use of S-wave applications in exploration, and the resultant evolution to multicomponent recording. Chapter 1 is followed by a brief discussion of the basic principles of elastic theory, including polarization and anisotropy as they relate to acquisition, processing, and interpretation of multicomponent seismic data. Field examples and case histories in later chapters illustrate the practical applications of the basic principles.

Some of the earliest work in seismology involved the use of seismic S-waves. Observations of body waves made by earthquake seismologists were principally S-waves. This was a result of both earthquake sources generating, in many cases, predominately S-wave energy, and the sensitivity of early instrumentation to horizontal ground motion. The very earliest instruments, such as torsion seismometers, responded primarily to horizontal ground motion. Further, the development of sensitive instruments to detect horizontal ground motion preceded the development of sensitive vertical instruments by a number of years. Even modem earthquake seismology is very dependent upon S-wave observations. In fact, the original definition of earthquake magnitude given in Richter (1935) was based upon displacement observed on a Wood-Anderson torsional seismometer, although the horizontal motion associated with the first-arriving P-wave is what was measured.

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Investigations in Geophysics

Multicomponent Seismology in Petroleum Exploration

R.H Tatham
R.H Tatham
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M.D McCormack
M.D McCormack
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Society of Exploration Geophysicists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 1991




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