Resolution has two common definitions. The first of these relates to determination of the position of a reflector in time or space. Resolution by this definition is inversely related to pulse width or sharpness of the wavelet and, potentially, directly related to bandwidth of the frequency spectrum. The second definition of resolution relates to determination of the spacing of close features such as thin beds. This type of resolution is determined by the Rayleigh criterion which inversely relates resolution to wavelength. Resolution of thin beds improves with shorter wavelength, or higher frequency. In comparison to the Rayleigh criterion, the Ricker and Widess criteria improve the resolution potential of thin beds, but they rely on models of the reflectors and require that the beds be isolated.It is a long established and widely accepted axiom that the best wavelets contain bandwidths of at least a couple of octaves. This results in wavelets with reduced side lobes and ringiness, a more easily interpreted waveform. The concept of octaves does not figure into the equation of resolution according to either of the above definitions, but that is not to disagree with the axiom. For wavelets with bandwidths of at least a few octaves, the two definitions of resolution find a consensus in that resolution quality becomes dependent on the value of the highest frequency. That is, resolution is proportional to the highest frequency of the data when it contains several octaves of information.

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