Abstract

A 'natural field' seismic technique is possible to attain by observing microseisms with a suitably designed array and by digitally processing the data to obtain estimates of the phase velocities of Rayleigh waves. Wavelengths of interest in detecting depth to the basement of sedimentary basins are in the range 2 to 20 km, and correspond to wave periods from 1 to 7 s. An array of five or seven seismometers deployed as an expanding cross configuration simplifies field procedures and is adequate for phase velocity measurements of Rayleigh waves in the required wavelength range, provided high-resolution frequency-wavenumber spectral analysis is used. This analysis can be implemented on a minicomputer in the field.Results obtained from observation in a sedimentary basin of known structure show predominantly fundamental-mode Rayleigh wave propagation. The scatter of velocity estimates is small enough to allow inversion by curve matching, and depth to the basement can be computed to an accuracy of + or -30 percent without requiring restrictive assumptions of a seismic velocity structure.

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