Seismic attributes are derivatives of seismic data that are commonly used for two purposes, feature detection and to predict (usually quantitatively) physical properties of interest. Although there is a well-developed interest in using “physically significant” attributes (i.e., attributes thought to respond to or directly image changes in acoustic or elastic properties) to predict subsurface physical properties, in this article I make a case for identifying and using “stratigraphically significant” attributes. Stratigraphically significant attributes are seismic attributes that capture changes in waveform shape that are caused by changes in stratigraphy. As used here, the term “stratigraphy” refers to vertical and lateral changes in bed thickness and physical properties that are generally caused by changes in depositional processes. It should be recognized, however, that changes in physical properties caused by diagenesis can be important, especially in carbonates, and are here included in the definition of stratigraphy.

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