Scientific visualization is defined as “the act of achieving a complete visual impression of an object.” In geophysics, we must add “and its associated and derived properties” to that definition. Geophysicists routinely visualize massive information-rich objects (e.g., seismic data, well logs, etc.), and how well we visualize them plays a dominating role in the success of an exploration project. Despite visualization's importance, our visualization techniques are relics of a bygone technological era and are based more on artistic rather than scientific principles.

In this issue of TLE, we feature two articles that seek to broaden our concept of what “visualization” can mean in geophysics. First, Lynch takes us on a journey into the realm of high visual resolution displays and virtual reality. If seismic rendering could approach levels employed in video games or the animated features of Pixar or Disney, what previously unseen subsurface targets might we see?

Dell'Aversana then expands our thinking on data visualization by asking us to consider the advantages of dual-sensory perception. By converting geophysical data into a digital audio format such as MIDI, interpreters and other specialists can “visualize” data with their eyes and their ears. With credit to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, call it “the sound of seismic.”