Shear Wave Seismic Study Comparing 9C3D SV and SH Images with 3C3D C-Wave Images

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The objective of this study was to compare the relative merits of shear-wave (S-wave) seismic data acquired with nine-component (9-C) technology and with three-component (3-C) technology. The original proposal was written as if the investigation would be restricted to a single 9-C seismic survey in southwest Kansas (the Ashland survey), on the basis of the assumption that both 9-C and 3-C S-wave images could be created from that one dataset. The Ashland survey was designed as a 9-C seismic program. We found that although the acquisition geometry was adequate for 9-C data analysis, the source-receiver geometry did not allow 3-C data to be extracted on an equitable and competitive basis with 9-C data. To do a fair assessment of the relative value of 9-C and 3-C seismic S-wave data, we expanded the study beyond the Ashland survey and included multicomponent seismic data from surveys done in a variety of basins. These additional data were made available through the Bureau of Economic Geology, our research subcontractor.

Bureau scientists have added theoretical analyses to this report that provide valuable insights into several key distinctions between 9-C and 3-C seismic data. These theoretical considerations about distinctions between 3-C and 9-C S-wave data are presented first, followed by a discussion of differences between processing 9-C common-midpoint data and 3-C common-conversion-point data. Examples of 9-C and 3-C data are illustrated and discussed in the last part of the report.

The key findings of this study are that each S-wave mode (SH-SH, SV-SV, or PSV) involves a different subsurface illumination pattern and a different reflectivity behavior and that each mode senses a different Earth fabric along its propagation path because of the unique orientation of its particle-displacement vector. As a result of the distinct orientation of each mode's particle-displacement vector, one mode may react to a critical geologic condition in a more optimal way than do the other modes. A conclusion of the study is that 9-C seismic data contain more rock and fluid information and more sequence and facies information than do 3-C seismic data; 9-C data should therefore be acquired in multicomponent seismic programs whenever possible.


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