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Book Chapter

Interpreting a Structurally Complex Seismic Section

January 01, 2004


The task of the seismic interpreter is to determine the subsurface model that best fits all available geologic and geophysical data. As the areas in which we explore become increasingly complex, we find that the role of interpreters becomes more important and their background must become more diverse. It is essential that interpreters have an understanding of the acquisition and processing of reflection seismic and borehole data. They must be knowledgeable about stratigraphic and structural concepts. With a good appreciation of geology and geophysics, interpreters can provide realistic views of the subsurface and can further our understanding of the earth.

To make a good structural interpretation, an understanding of structural geology and deformational regimes is required. For those who do not have a complete background in thrust tectonics, we recommend the following reference material: Boyer and Elliot (1982), Dahlstrom (1969), and Mitra (1986). For a comprehensive listing of thrust-tectonic terms, see McClay (1992). In addition, we recommend researching the geographic area of interest before starting a structural interpretation so that both the local stratigraphy and deformational styles are understood. For research on the Alberta Foothills, which is the subject of our sample interpretation study, we direct the reader to papers by Bally et al. (1966), Dahlstrom (1970), and Fermor (1999).

In this chapter, we present eight basic steps to seismic interpretation (Table 1) and use a seismic line from the Shaw Basing area of

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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
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Publication date:
January 01, 2004




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