Abstract

Subsurface structure can be mapped using refraction information from marine multichannel seismic data. The method uses velocities and thicknesses of shallow sedimentary rock layers computed from refraction first arrivals recorded along the streamer .A two-step exploration scheme is described which can be set up on a personal computer and used routinely in any office. It is straightforward and requires only a basic understanding of refraction principles. Two case histories from offshore Peru exploration demonstrate the scheme. The basic scheme is: step (1) shallow sedimentary rock velocities are computed and mapped over an area. Step (2) structure is interpreted from the contoured velocity patterns. Structural highs, for instance, exhibit relatively high velocities, "retained" by buried, compacted, sedimentary rocks that are uplifted to the near-surface. This method requires that subsurface structure be relatively shallow because the refracted waves probe to depths of one hundred to over one thousand meters, depending upon the seismic energy source, streamer length, and the subsurface velocity distribution. With this one requirement met, we used the refraction method over a wide range of sedimentary rock velocities, water depths, and seismic survey types. The method is particularly valuable because it works well in areas with poor seismic reflection data.

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