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Book Chapter

Refraction Seismology

Published:
January 01, 2004

Abstract

In modern times, refraction seismology has been used to examine the near surface in petroleum exploration and engineering applications. In refraction seismology, the relevant seismic arrivals are the direct wave and the “head wave” (critically refracted arrival). For ease of interpretation, the head wave is identified most easily when it is the first event on a seismogram.

An understanding of the direct arrival and the head wave can be obtained by examining Figure 1. Detailed explanations of refraction seismology are included in many texts, including Grant and West (1965) and Kearey and Brooks (1991).

In homogeneous media such as the one in Figure 1, we can think of seismic energy emanating from a point source as a spherical wavefront. In the 2D model of the figure, these become circles. For P-waves, rays constructed perpendicular to wavefronts will describe the direction of wave motion. Consider the wave motion in the two-layer model of Figure 1 for the case in which the velocity of the second layer is greater than that of the first layer. Let the top layer have a thickness h and a velocity v1, and let the velocity of the second layer be v2.

In homogeneous media such as the one in Figure 1, we can think of seismic energy emanating from a point source as a spherical wavefront. In the 2D model of the figure, these become circles. For P-waves, rays constructed perpendicular to wavefronts will

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Geophysical Monograph Series

Fundamentals of Geophysical Interpretation

Laurence R. Lines
Laurence R. Lines
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Rachel T. Newrick
Rachel T. Newrick
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Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Volume
13
ISBN electronic:
9781560801726
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

GeoRef

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