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January 01, 2004


This book on interpretation covers several fundamental geophysical principles and is intended to serve as an introduction to the topic. It is certainly not the final word on the subject.

We hope the reader realizes, by this point, that interpretation is an integrative process. Effective interpretation will use all available data and will produce a map or model that is consistent with all observations. Tools such as cooperative inversion or geostatistics indicate that interpretation is enhanced by the use of several reliable data sets. This is definitely true of reservoir characterization, which requires data of different wavelengths to provide a complete picture of the reservoir volume.

Much has changed in geophysical interpretation in past decades. Although reflection seismology remains the workhorse of geophysical exploration, 3D seismic surveys are now the standard reservoir characterization tool and are used routinely. The seismic-interpretive workstation has allowed vast amounts of 3D data to be analyzed effectively in a tractable manner. Visualization tools have seen great advances in the last decade. One of the greatest advances in fault detection has come about through development of coherency technologies.

Pitfalls in seismic interpretation will always be with us. However, many of the pitfalls of the last decade have been obviated by use of modern exploration methods.

One of the most common pitfalls in past years has arisen from misinterpretation of seismic time-section anomalies as depth anomalies. This can be avoided by effective use of depth migration. However, this solution assumes that we have obtained accurate velocity

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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
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2004




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