Abstract

Traditionally, acquiring seismic data has rested on the assumption that geophone mass should be as small as possible. When Steeples and coworkers in 1999 planted 72 geophones automatically and simultaneously with a farm tillage implement, the effective mass of each of the geophones was significantly increased. We examined how the mass of a geophone affects changes in traveltime, amplitude, frequency, and overall data quality by placing various external masses on top of 100-Hz vertical geophones. Circular barbell weights of 1.1-, 11.3-, and 22.7 kg; an 8.2-kg bag of lead shot; and a 136-kg stack of barbell weights were placed on top of geophones during data acquisition. In addition, a very large mass in the form of a truck was parked on top of two of the geophones. Four seismic sources supplying a broad range of energies were tested: a sledgehammer, a .22-caliber rifle, a 30.06 rifle, and an 8-gauge Betsy Seisgun. Spectral analysis revealed that the smaller weights had the greatest effects on the capacities of the geophones to replicate the earth's motion. Consequently, using geophones with a large effective mass as part of an automatic geophone-planting device would not necessarily be detrimental to the collection of high-quality near-surface seismic data.

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