Abstract

Interpretation of seismic responses from subsurface fault zones is hampered by the fact that the geologic structure and property distributions of fault zones can generally not be directly observed. This shortcoming curtails the use of seismic data for characterizing internal structure and properties of fault zones, and it has instead promoted the use of interpretation techniques that tend to simplify actual structural complexity by rendering faults as lines and planes rather than volumes of deformed rock. Facilitating the correlation of rock properties and seismic images of fault zones would enable active use of these images for interpreting fault zones, which in turn would improve our ability to assess the impact of fault zones on subsurface fluid flow. We use a combination of 3D fault zone models, based on empirical data and 2D forward seismic modeling to investigate the link between fault zone properties and seismic response. A comparison of spatial statistics from the geologic models and the seismic images was carried out to study how well seismic images render the modeled geologic features. Our results indicate the feasibility of extracting information about fault zone structure from seismic data by the methods used.

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