Abstract

M. Brooks writes: the investigation of crustal deformation must be one of the primary scientific aims of deep reflection profiling. If structural geologists showed no interest in crustal seismic sections, what would be the point of obtaining them in the first place? There is, however, a great need for discipline in interpreting the current generation of crustal reflection profiles to ensure that any structural models advanced represents a reasonable interpretation of the seismic data.

Over-interpretation is here defined as the extraction of information from a seismic section over and above what is reasonable, given the technical problems of the sections and the prevailing geological uncertainties. Unfortunately, the over-interpretation of deep seismic reflection data is a modern malaise reaching epidemic proportions. Numerous papers now present structural interpretations of crustal reflection sections, that cannot be sustained on any objective criteria.

The problemm of over-interpretation results from the fact that a first generation of crustal reflection sections, with all their technical inadequacies, are being interpreted by structural geologists armed with a rich supply of viable structural models of crustal deformation. There is a very natural desire on their part to trace surface structures to depth and, hence, define the overall style of crustal deformation, especially in geologically classic areas. The fact that some crustal reflection sections do contain unambiguous evidence of individual major structures strongly encourages this search for definitive structural information in deep reflection data.

The crustal reflection sections themselves, however, typically present a very confusing image of deep geology with little

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