A 300-m near-surface seismic reflection profile was collected in southeastern Kansas to locate a fault(s) associated with a recognized stratigraphic offset on either side of a region of unexposed bedrock. A substantial increase in the S/N ratio of the final stacked section was achieved by muting all data arriving in time after the airwave. Methods of applying traditional seismic data processing techniques to near-surface data (200 ms of data or less) often differ notably from hydrocarbon exploration-scale processing (3-4 s of data or more). The example of noise cone muting used is contrary to normal exploration-scale seismic data processing philosophy, which is to include all data containing signal. The noise cone mute applied to the data removed more than one-third of the total data volume, some of which contains signal. In this case, however, the severe muting resulted in a higher S/N ratio in the final stacked section, even though some signal could be identified within the muted data. This example supports the suggestion that nontraditional techniques sometimes need to be considered when processing near-surface seismic data.

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