Forward modeling, where an interpreter starts with a geologic model and generates synthetic seismic data (Figure 1), was first used by explorationists in the 1950s. Today, forward modeling packages have evolved to where they can handle complex 2-D and 3-D geologic models. Modern forward modeling programs yield synthetic field records, common midpoint gathers, stacked or migrated sections, vertical seismic profiles or 3-D seismic data sets. These flexible modeling programs have, in turn, induced an increasing number of explorationists to use them to answer questions related to acquisition, processing and interpretation of seismic data.

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