Seismic Imaging

  • Fred J. Hilterman
Part of the Acoustical Imaging book series (ACIM, volume 9)


Seismic time sections ideally represent a vertical cross-section of the earth. By using reflection amplitude and character on these time sections, lateral events are picked from trace-to-trace and these events are then interpreted as geologic boundaries between formations which have different acoustic impedances.

In order to increase the signal-to-noise ratio on the time sections and, at the same time, provide a velocity distribution profile of the earth, multi-fold data acquisition techniques are employed. In these field techniques, all reflecting interfaces below a common surface point are specularly illuminated, at least six times, by varying the offset distance between the source and receiver. Multifold data are acquired for those source-receiver pairs which are centered around a common surface point.

Processing techniques, some standard to image processing, such as deconvolution, stacking and gain correction, are then implemented. However, because the source and receiver are omni-directional, energy reflecting or diffracting from points not vertically beneath the common surface point can obscure the geophysicist’s interpretation. These non-vertical features, as fortune will have it, are normally the zones of economic value. The processing algorithms, which place this non-vertically traveling energy in its true spatial position, are called Migration Techniques. They are imaging processes, which are anologues to a Kirchhoff or backward wave propagation reconstruction, that is a form of synthetic aperture imaging.

Because of the massive amounts of data involved, very efficient algorithms have been developed for migration. Only minute differences are evident between the time-domain (finite difference or backward propagation summing) and frequency-domain methods.

Currently, seismic research in total of 3-D imaging is very active in areas of data acquisition, processing, display and interpretation.


Acoustic Impedance Seismic Section Time Section Geophone Array Seismic Imaging 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Claerbout, J. F., 1976, Fundamentals of geophysical data processing; McGraw-Hill, 274 p.Google Scholar
  2. Courtier, W. H. and Mendenhall, H. L., 1967, Experiences with multiple coverage seismic methods, Geophysics, V. 32, no. 2, p. 230–258.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Duffy, Jr., R. E., 1980, Seismic coal modeling constrained by deposi-tional environment, Univ. of Houston MS. publication.Google Scholar
  4. French, W. S., 1975, Computer migration of oblique seismic reflection profiles, Geophysics, v. 40, no. 6, p. 961–980.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hilterman, F. J., 1970, Three-dimensional seismic modeling, Geophysics, v. 35, no. 6, p. 1020–1037.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Schneider, W. A., 1978, Integral formulation for migration in two and three dimensions, Geophysics, v. 43, no. 1, p. 49–76.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Stolt, R. H., 1978, Migration by Fourier Transform, Geophysics, v. 43, no. 1, p. 23–48.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Taner, M. T. and Koehler, F., 1969, Velocity Spectra-Digital computer derivation and applications of velocity functions, Geophysics, v. 34, no. 6, p. 859–881.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred J. Hilterman
    • 1
  1. 1.Seismic Acoustics LaboratoryUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations