Salt boundary interpretation is important for the understanding of salt tectonics and velocity model building for seismic migration. Conventional methods consist of computing salt attributes and extracting salt boundaries. We have formulated the problem as 3D image segmentation and evaluated an efficient approach based on deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) with an encoder-decoder architecture. To train the model, we design a data generator that extracts randomly positioned subvolumes from large-scale 3D training data set followed by data augmentation, then feed a large number of subvolumes into the network while using salt/nonsalt binary labels generated by thresholding the velocity model as ground truth labels. We test the model on validation data sets and compare the blind test predictions with the ground truth. Our results indicate that our method is capable of automatically capturing subtle salt features from the 3D seismic image with less or no need for manual input. We further test the model on a field example to indicate the generalization of this deep CNN method across different data sets.

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