Abstract

Shallow 3-D seismic reflection techniques have been used to map glacial deposits in a Swiss mountain valley. A dense distribution of source and receiver positions resulted in a small subsurface sampling of 1.5 m × 1.5 m and a high fold of >40. Common processing operations that included pseudotrue amplitude scaling, deconvolution, and band-pass filtering successfully enhanced shallow reflections relative to source-generated noise. Careful top muting helped avoid erroneous stacking of direct and guided waves. Azimuth-dependent velocity analyses proved to be unnecessary. Three-dimensional (3-D) migration of the stacked data yielded the final high-resolution images of the shallow subsurface (15–170 m). Because most reflections and diffractions were migrated to their correct subsurface locations, confident interpretations of 3-D structures were possible. Time slices and cross-sections along arbitrary directions proved to be powerful analysis tools. Even small-scale features (<20 m wide), such as subglacial channels and troughs, could be mapped. Five major lithologic units separated by four principal reflecting boundaries were distinguished on the basis of their characteristic seismic facies. The principal reflecting boundaries were semiautomatically tracked through the 3-D data volume. Borehole information allowed the uppermost boundary at 15–27 m to be identified as the top of a 68–80-m-thick sequence of basal and reworked tills characterized by high-amplitude discontinuous to quasi-continuous reflections. Low reflectivity of seismic units above and below the till units was associated with finely layered or massive glaciolacustrine clay/silt deposited during and after two principal phases of glaciation (Würm at 28 000 to 10 000 and Riss at 200 000 to 100 000 years before the present). Top of Tertiary Molasse basement was delineated by prominent east-dipping reflections at variable depths of 85–170 m.

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