Delineating salt boundaries is a necessary step in the velocity-model building process. The salt-delineation problem can be thought of as an image-segmentation problem. Normalized cuts image segmentation (NCIS) finds the cut (or cuts) that result in an image being broken into portions which have dissimilar, by some measure, characteristics. We apply a modified version of the NCIS method to partition seismic images along salt boundaries. NCIS can track boundaries that are not continuous, where conventional horizon-tracking algorithms may fail, by calculating a weight connecting each pixel in the image to every other pixel within a local neighborhood. The weights are determined using problem-dependent combinations of attributes, the most important being instantanteous amplitude and dip. The weights for the entire image are used to segment the image via an eigenvector calculation. The weight matrices for 3D seismic data cubes can be quite large and computationally expensive. By imposing bounds and by distributing the algorithm on a parallel cluster, we significantly increase efficiency. This method is demonstrated to be effective on a 3D field seismic data cube.

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