PS seismic data from the Snøhvit field are compared with seismic modelling to understand the effect of azimuthal separation and incidence angle on the imaging of faults and associated horizon discontinuities. In addition, the frequency content of seismic waves backscattered from faults is analysed. The study area consists of a horst structure delimited by a northern fault dipping NW and oblique to the east–west survey orientation, and a southern fault dipping SSW and subparallel to the survey. Due to the raypath asymmetry of PS reflections, the northern fault is imaged better by azimuthally partitioned W data that include receivers downdip of the fault, relative to the sources, than by E data where the receivers are updip from the sources. Partial stack data show a systematic increase in the PS fault-reflected amplitude and therefore quality of fault imaging with increasing incidence angle. Fault images are dominated by internal low-medium frequency shadows surrounded by medium-high frequencies haloes. Synthetic experiments suggest that this is due to the interaction of specular waves and diffractions, and the spectral contribution from the fault signal, which increases with fault zone complexity. These results highlight the impact of survey geometry and processing workflows on fault imaging.

Supplementary material: model description, processed sections and videos are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5727552

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