ABSTRACT

Survey design for converted-wave (PS) reflection is more complicated than for standard P-wave surveys, due to raypath asymmetry and increased possibility of phase distortion. Coal-scale PS surveys (depth <300  m) require particular consideration, partly due to the particular physical properties of the target (low density and low velocity). Finite-difference modeling provides a pragmatic evaluation of the likely distortion due to inclusion of postcritical reflections. If the offset range is carefully chosen, then it may be possible to incorporate high-amplitude postcritical reflections without seriously degrading the resolution in the stack. Offsets of up to three times target depth may in some cases be usable, with appropriate quality control at the data-processing stage. This means that the PS survey design may need to handle raypaths that are highly asymmetrical and that are very sensitive to assumed velocities. A 3D-PS design was used for a particular coal survey with the target in the depth range of 85–140 m. The objectives were acceptable fold balance between bins and relatively smooth distribution of offset and azimuth within bins. These parameters are relatively robust for the P-wave design, but much more sensitive for the case of PS. Reduction of the source density is more acceptable than reduction of the receiver density, particularly in terms of the offset-azimuth distribution. This is a fortuitous observation in that it improves the economics of a dynamite source, which is desirable for high-resolution coal-mine planning. The final-survey design necessarily allows for logistical and economic considerations, which implies some technical compromise. However, good fold, offset, and azimuth distributions are achieved across the survey area, yielding a data set suitable for meaningful analysis of P and S azimuthal anisotropy.

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