Seismic Geophysics

  • Christopher L. Liner
  • T. A. (Mac) McGilvery
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Earth Sciences book series (BRIEFSEARTH)


Geophysics plays a central role in the modern hydrocarbon exploration and production industry. A brief overview of gravity and electromagnetic geophysical methods is followed by in-depth discussion of seismic geophysics. The elastic seismic wavefield is generated and measured so as to isolate and enhance P-wave energy. The acquisition of land or marine 3D seismic data is a large-scale experiment involving source activation and simultaneous recording of many thousands of sensors. Each sensor (or array) generates a seismic trace whose geometry is defined by the source and sensor coordinates. The complete survey can consist of several billion individual traces that require significant processing to create a subsurface geological image. The natural domain of seismic data is reflection time that must be tied to geology through a synthetic seismogram. Frequency, resolution and vertical exaggeration of seismic data set limits on interpretation. Rock mineralogy, porosity and pore fluids all influence the seismic response, primarily encoded in seismic amplitude data. Basic interpretation methods involve horizon tracking, fault network mapping, identifying direct hydrocarbon indicators, and geobody extraction. Additional processing of the amplitude data leads to a universe of seismic attributes that aid interpretation.


Acquisition Frequency Gassmann theory (fluid substitution) Impedance inversion Machine learning Resolution Seismic attributes Seismic migration Synthetic seismogram Wavelength 


  1. Arts, R., A. Chadwick, O. Eiken, S. Thibeau, and S. Nooner. 2008. Ten years’ experience of monitoring CO2 injection in the Utsira Sand at Sleipner, offshore Norway. First Break 26, 65–72.Google Scholar
  2. Aki, K., and P.G. Richards. 2002. Quantitative Seismology. 2nd ed. Herndon: University Science Books.Google Scholar
  3. Bahorich, M., and S. Farmer. 1995. 3-D seismic discontinuity for faults and stratigraphic features: The coherence cube. The Leading Edge 14(10), 1053–1058. Scholar
  4. Barker, A. 2018. An Integrated Well Log and 3D Seismic Interpretation of Missourian Clinoforms, Osage County, OK. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Arkansas, AR.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, A.R. 2011. Interpretation of Three-Dimensional Seismic Data. 7th ed. Tulsa: American Association of Petroleum Geologists and Society of Exploration Geophysicists.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Heiland, C.A. 1946. Geophysical Exploration. New York: Prentice-Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kilcoyne, D. 2018. Mapping Lower Austin Chalk Secondary Porosity Using Modern 3-D Seismic and Well Log Methods in Zavala County, Texas. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Arkansas, AR.Google Scholar
  8. Lansley, M., M. Laurin, and S. Ronen. 2008. Modern land recording systems: How do they weigh up? The Leading Edge 27: 888–894.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Liner, C.L. 2012. Elements of Seismic Dispersion: A Somewhat Practical Guide to Frequency-Dependent Phenomena, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK.
  10. Liner, C.L. 2016. Elements of 3D Seismology. 3rd ed. Tulsa: Society of Exploration Geophysicists.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McAfee, A., and E. Brynjolfsson. 2017. Machine Platform Crowd. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Mougenot, E. 2018. Marine, seabed, and land seismic equipment for broadband acquisition: A review. Geophysical Prospecting 66: 922–933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pecholcs, P.I., R. Al-Saad, M. Al-Sannaa, J. Quigley, C. Bagaini, A. Zarkhidze, R. May, M. Guellili, S. Sinanaj, and M. Membrouk. 2012. A broadband full azimuth land seismic case study from Saudi Arabia using a 100,000 channel recording system at 6 terabytes per day: acquisition and processing lessons learned. SEG Technical Program Expanded Abstracts: 1–5.Google Scholar
  14. Roberts, A. 2001. Curvature attributes and their application to 3D interpreted horizons. First Break 19(2), 85–100. Scholar
  15. Smirnov, A. 2018. Interpretation and Fracture Characterization of Early-Cretaceous Buda Limestone Formation Using Post-Stack 3D Seismic Data in Zavala County, Texas. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Arkansas, AR.Google Scholar
  16. Smirnov, K., E. Voronovicheva, Y. Protkova, V. Sablina, and G. Kalinichenko. 2018. Increasing confidence in reef interpretation using dip angle gathers analysis. First Break 36(7), 37–43.
  17. Telford, W.M., L.P. Geldart, R.E. Sheriff, and D.A. Keys. 1976. Applied Geophysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Tellier, N., G. Ollivrin, and D. Boucard. 2015. Vibroseis equipment for efficient low-frequency generation and high-productivity operations. First Break 33: 77–83.Google Scholar
  19. USArray. 2018. Accessed 8/27/2018.
  20. Yilmaz, O. 2001. Seismic Data Analysis: Processing, Inversion and Interpretation of Seismic Data. Tulsa: Society of Exploration Geophysicists.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher L. Liner
    • 1
  • T. A. (Mac) McGilvery
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

Personalised recommendations