Seismic acquisition is a trade-off between economy and quality. In conventional acquisition the time intervals between successive records are large enough to avoid interference in time. To obtain an efficient survey, the spatial source sampling is therefore often (too) large. However, in blending, or simultaneous acquisition, temporal overlap between shot records is allowed. This additional degree of freedom in survey design significantly improves the quality or the economics or both. Deblending is the procedure of recovering the data as if they were acquired in the conventional, unblended way. A simple least-squares procedure, however, does not remove the interference due to other sources, or blending noise. Fortunately, the character of this noise is different in different domains, e.g., it is coherent in the common source domain, but incoherent in the common receiver domain. This property is used to obtain a considerable improvement. We propose to estimate the blending noise and subtract it from the blended data. The estimate does not need to be perfect because our procedure is iterative. Starting with the least-squares deblended data, the estimate of the blending noise is obtained via the following steps: sort the data to a domain where the blending noise is incoherent; apply a noise suppression filter; apply a threshold to remove the remaining noise, ending up with (part of) the signal; compute an estimate of the blending noise from this signal. At each iteration, the threshold can be lowered and more of the signal is recovered. Promising results were obtained with a simple implementation of this method for both impulsive and vibratory sources. Undoubtedly, in the future algorithms will be developed for the direct processing of blended data. However, currently a high-quality deblending procedure is an important step allowing the application of contemporary processing flows.

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