Three-dimensional fault interpretation is a time-consuming and tedious task. Huge efforts have been invested in attempts to accelerate this procedure. We present a novel workflow to perform semiautomated fault illumination that uses a discontinuity attribute as input and provides labeled fault surfaces as output. The procedure is modeled after a biometric algorithm to recognize capillary vein patterns in human fingers. First, a coherence or discontinuity volume is converted to binary form indicating possible fault locations. This binary volume is then skeletonized to produce a suite of fault sticks. Finally, the fault sticks are grouped to construct fault surfaces using a classic triangulation method. The processing in the first two steps is applied time slice by time slice, thereby minimizing the influence of staircase artifacts seen in discontinuity volumes. We illustrate this technique by applying it to a seismic volume acquired over the Netherlands Sector of the North Sea Basin and find that the proposed strategy can produce highly precise fault surfaces.

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