Multicomponent seismology requires recording of seismic data with three- and sometimes four-component receivers. The three components measure displacement of the ground, usually in two horizontal and one vertical directions. The fourth component is a measurement of pressure, which is used in sea-bottom surveys. Measuring three components of ground displacement enables the recording of compressional (P) and shear (S) waves which represent the full complement of “body” waves in seismology. Earthquake seismologists have been using the full complement for years to interpret the structure of our living planet; however, exploration seismologists have been slow to bring multicomponent seismology to the forefront of their measurement system. This is finally changing. Thanks to new seismic acquisition recording systems, it is now feasible to economically record multicomponent seismic data in both land and marine (sea-bottom) settings. In the future, all land or sea-bottom seismic data will be recorded by multicomponent technology, thereby bringing us the next wave of exploration geophysics as we begin to “see the unseen.”

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