Extreme velocity gradients occasionally present within near-surface materials can inhibit optimal common midpoint (CMP) stacking of near-surface reflection arrivals. For example, abrupt increases in velocity are observed routinely at the bedrock surface and at the boundary between the vadose and the saturated zone. When a rapid increase in near-surface velocity is found. NMO correction artifacts manifested on CMP gathers as sample reversion, sample compression, or duplication of reflection wavelets can reduce S/N ratio on stacked data or can stack coherently. Elimination of these nonstretch-related artifacts using conventional NMO-stretch muting requires near-vertically incident reflection arrivals and allowable stretch ratios as small as 5% in some shallow environments. Radical allowable stretch mutes are not a feasible means to subdue these artifacts if high-amplitude coherent noise on near-offset traces inhibits identification and digital enhancement of shallow reflections. On most shallow seismic reflection data, long-offset reflection arrivals (but less than wide angle) are critical to the generation of an interpretable stacked section. The difference in offset between the optimum window for shallow reflections within unsaturated sediments and reflections from the underlying saturated or consolidated-material portion of the section inherently limits the effectiveness of conventional NMO corrections. Near-surface average velocity increases of 200% in less than two wavelengths and at two-way traveltimes less than 60 ms are not uncommon on shallow reflection data. Near-surface reflections separated by large velocity gradients can rarely be accurately or optimally CMP processed using conventional approaches to NMO corrections. Large velocity-gradient shallow reflection data require segregation of shallow lower velocity reflections from higher velocity reflections during processing to maximize the accuracy and resolution potential of the stacked section, as shown by examples herein.

This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.