In several domains of applied geophysics, surface, and guided waves are considered as a source of information for characterizing the near surface, which in a marine environment includes the seabed. By contrast, in exploration seismic surveys, these waves have traditionally been regarded as coherent noise that should be filtered out as soon as possible. The authors consider that surface and guided waves are not noise but a signal that can be lifted from the seismic record and exploited for a variety of well-established geophysical solutions. Surface and guided waves constitute a large part of the recorded energy and with proper acquisition, analysis, and inversion they can be used to characterize the near surface with surprisingly high resolution. In this role, they can provide valuable information for tasks such as perturbation correction—adjustment for near-surface traveltime distortions. They can also be used for velocity and geological modeling. In this article, the authors discuss a workflow for the analysis and joint inversion of surface and guided waves in both land and offshore seismic data.

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