We introduce a new method for first-arrival picking based on digital color-image segmentation of energy ratios of refracted seismic data. The method uses a new color-image segmentation scheme based on projection onto convex sets (POCS). The POCS requires a reference color for the first break and one iteration to segment the first-break amplitudes from other arrivals. We tested the segmentation method on synthetic seismic data sets with various amounts of additive Gaussian noise. The proposed method gives similar performance to a modified version of Coppens’ method for traces with high signal-to-noise ratio and medium-to-large offsets. Finally, we applied our method and used as well the modified first-arrival picking method based on Coppens’ method to pick the first arrivals on four real data sets, where both were compared to the first breaks that were picked manually and then interpolated. Based on an assessment error of a 20-ms window with respect to manual picks that are interpolated, we find that our method gives comparable performance to Coppens’ method, depending on the data difficulty of picking first arrivals. Therefore, we believe that our proposed method is a good new addition to the existing methods of first-arrival picking.

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