ABSTRACT

Seismic interferometry applied to walkaway vertical seismic profile data has significant potential for imaging the steeply dipping structures often encountered in hard-rock minerals exploration. Using the interferometry process, surface shots can be redatumed to the borehole receivers resulting in virtual shot gathers. The virtual shot gathers can then be processed using a standard common midpoint (CMP) processing flow. Carrying out this procedure for a subvertical borehole results in a geometry that is optimal for imaging structures that are near vertical. Field acquisition parameters play a critical role in recovering reliable virtual source images. We evaluated the major factors that play a role in designing a field acquisition program with the objective of providing guidance to field practitioners. The major issue to be considered is insuring that correlation gathers created in the interferometry process have a stationary phase component that when summed produces events with correct timing and cancellation of nonstationary components. Consistent with previous work, the ray-tracing-based analysis identified the surface source spacing, surface source aperture, and dominant frequency as the most critical parameters. The analysis indicated that because of the high apparent velocities typically encountered in hard rock terrains, a surface source spacing of 20 m and an aperture of 1000 m will result in stationary phase components and avoid spatial alias in the correlation gathers for frequencies as high as 80 Hz. However, closer spacing of the surface sources provided more traces in the correlation gathers resulting in fewer artifacts during summation. These results were further verified by acoustic wave modeling that provided data from more complex targets that were processed through a complete interferometry and CMP flow. The analysis indicated that with care in designing field acquisition parameters, seismic interferometry is realizable within the terrain and access restrictions imposed by many mining camps.

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