Depth seismic imaging using reflection and first arrival traveltime tomography: Application to a deep profile across the Northern Emirates Foothills

  • Anne Jardin
  • Karine Broto
  • Timothée Perdrizet
Conference paper
Part of the Frontiers in Earth Sciences book series (FRONTIERS)


Among seismic processing methods, the reflection tomography is performed to compute accurate velocity models for depth seismic imaging and the first arrival tomography is used to determine the complex velocity variations of the structured overburden. In foothills, where reflection tomography suffers from severe limitations, combining these two methods provides a more complete determination of the velocity model from the shallowest zones down to the deeper zones. This combined method has been applied to a deep seismic profile acquired across the Northern Emirates Foothills. The main objective of this study is to acquire new information on deep target structures for hydrocarbon exploration. In the western part, with sand dune on surface, the reflection tomography was successfully applied providing an accurate depth estimation of the carbonate platform, the potential reservoir. In the central foothills part of the profile, the velocity model was computed by joint inversion using the first arrivals down to 4 km depth and the reflected travel times for deeper layers. In the eastern part of the profile, due to the outcropping of the Semail ophiolite, the deep reflection events are not visible and only the first arrival tomography using the long offset traces (±15,000 m) has been applied to determine the ophiolite velocity and the limits of the high velocity contrast (up to 5.5 km/s) which could relate to the top of the underthrust platform and basinal Mesozoic unit. Finally seismic imaging combining joint traveltime tomography and pre-stack depth migration has provided new depth seismic images of the structural features of the complex overburden and of the frontal triangle zone.


Root Mean Square Velocity Model Carbonate Platform Reflection Tomography Tomographic Inversion 
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.



We acknowledge MM Saleh Al Mahmoudi, Khalid Al Hosani, Abdullah Gahnoog and the Ministry of Energy of the UAE for their long-term support during this project and for authorizing this publication. We also thank Louis Chérel from IFP Energies nouvelles and Daniela Justiniano, former trainee from IFP-school, for their contribution to tomography and depth migration. We thank the anonymous reviewer and Charles Naville for their reviews of the manuscript and their very useful comments about the traveltime tomography and the case study presentations respectively.


  1. Bêche M, Kirkwood D, Jardin A, Roure F (2005) 2D Depth seismic imaging in the Gaspé Belt, a structurally complex fold and thrust belt in the Northern Appalachians, Québec. Springer, Canada, pp 75–90Google Scholar
  2. Bêche M (2009) Architecture structurale de la ceinture de Gaspé (Canada): imagerie sismique intégrée et application à l’évaluation pétrolière, Ph D thesis University of Cergy-Pontoise, France and University Laval, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  3. Bishop TN, Bube KP, Cutler RT, Langan RT, Love PL, Resnick JR, Shuey JT, Spindler DA, Wyld HW (1985) Tomographic determination of velocity and depth in laterally-varying media. Geophysics 50:903–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bloor R (1998) Tomography and depth imaging. 60th EAGE Conference and Exhibition, Expanded Abstracts, 1–01Google Scholar
  5. British Geological Survey web site on:
  6. Broto K, Ehinger A (1998) How to access 3D prestack kinematic information in case of complex geologies? 68th Annual Internatational Mtg, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Expanded AbstractsGoogle Scholar
  7. Broto K (1999) Accès à l’information cinématique pour la détermination du modèle de vitesse par tomographie de réflexion 3D: Ph.D thesis, University of Pau, FranceGoogle Scholar
  8. Broto K, Lailly P (2001) Towards the tomographic inversion of prismatic reflections. 71st Annual Internatational Mtg, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Expanded AbstractsGoogle Scholar
  9. Broto K, Ehinger A, Kommedal J, Folstad P (2003) Anisotropic traveltime tomography for depth consistent imaging of PP and PS data. The Leading Edge, February 2003, 22:114–119Google Scholar
  10. Broto K, Rakotoarisoa H, Nicoletis L (2008) Method of determining specular information after prestack seismic imaging. US Patent 7345951Google Scholar
  11. Broto K, Ricarte P, Jurado F, Le Bras C, Etienne G (2011) Improving seismic monitoring by 4D joint prestack traveltime tomography—application to the Sleipner CO2 storage case. EAGE SES Conference, Valencia, SpainGoogle Scholar
  12. Clarke RA (1997) Modeling and inversion of 3D complex cinematic data, Ph.D thesis, University of Pau, FranceGoogle Scholar
  13. Delbos F, Gilbert JC, Glowinski R, Sinoquet D (2006) Constrained optimization in seismic reflection tomography: a Gauss–Newton augmented lagrangian approach. Geophys J Int 164(3):670–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dell’Aversana P, Colombo D, Buia M, Morandi S (2003) Velocity/interface model building in thrust belt by tomographic inversion of global offset seismic data. Geophys Prospect 51:23–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Delprat-Jannaud F, Lailly P (1993) Ill posed and well posed formulations of the reflection tomography problem. J Geophys Res 98:6589–6605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ehinger A, Broto K, Jardin A (2001) 3D tomographic velocity model determination for two North Sea case studies, 63rd Conference and Technical Exhibition, EAGE Amsterdam, Expanded Abstract BookGoogle Scholar
  17. Gray, S., Cheadle, S., and Law, B., 2000, Depth model building by interactive manual tomography: 70th Annual Internatational Mtg, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 914–917Google Scholar
  18. Gray S, Cheadle S, Vestrum R, Gittins J, Zhu T, Nanan H (2002) Using advanced seismic imaging tools to see the invisible beneath foothills structures. CSEG Recorder, March, pp 16–28Google Scholar
  19. Grau G, Lailly P (1993) Sequential migration-aided reflection tomography: an approach to the imaging of complex structures. J Appl Geophys 30:75–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jardin A, Chaker R, Krzywiec P (2005) Understanding seismic propagation through triangle zones. In: Thrusts Belts and Foreland Basins, Lacombe, Lavé, Roure, Vergès (eds). Springer, pp. 63–74Google Scholar
  21. Jaiswal P, Zelt CA (2008) Unified imaging of multi-channel seismic data: combining traveltime inversion and prestack depth migration. Geophysics 73(5):269–280Google Scholar
  22. Jurado F, Sinoquet D, Ehinger A (1996) 3D reflection tomography designed for complex structures, 66th Annual Internatational Mtg, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Expanded AbstractGoogle Scholar
  23. Lailly P, Sinoquet D (1996) Smooth velocity models in reflection tomography for imaging complex geological structures. Geophys J Int 124:349–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ministry of Energy, UAE (2007) Reports on deep seismic survey, 3 volumesGoogle Scholar
  25. Naville C, Ancel M, Andriessen P, Ricarte P, Roure F (2010) New constrains on the thickness of the Semail ophiolite in the Northern Emirates. Arab J Geosci 3:459–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Plaza-Faverola A, Westbrook GK, Ker S, Exley RJK, Gailler A, Minshull TA, Broto K (2010) Evidence from 3D seismic tomography for accumulation of gas hydrate. JGR Solid Earth, 2010Google Scholar
  27. Pinet B, Bois C (1990) The potential of deep seismic profiling for hydrocarbon exploration. Editions TECHNIP, ParisGoogle Scholar
  28. Renard F, Lailly P (1999) Robust and accurate determination of complex velocitiy/depth models by reflection traveltime tomography: KIM 1999 annual report. Institut Français du Pétrole, Rueil, FranceGoogle Scholar
  29. Stork C (1992) Reflection tomography in the postmigrated domain. Geophysics 57:680–692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tarantola A (1987) Inverse problem theory: methods for data fitting and model parameter estimation. Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  31. Tarapoanca M, Andriessen P, Broto K, Chérel L, Ellouz-Zimmermann N, Faure JL, Jardin A, Naville C, Roure F (2010) Forward kinematic modelling of a regional transect in the Northern Emirates using geological and apatite fission track age constraints on paleo-burial history. Arab J Geosci 3:395–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Versteeg R (1994) The Marmousi experience: velocity model determination on a synthetic complex data set. Lead Edge, September 1994, 927–936Google Scholar
  33. Zelt CA, Barton PJ (1998) Three-dimensional seismic refraction tomography: a comparison of two methods applied to data from the Faeroe Basin. J Geophys Res—Solid Earth 103:1292–1308Google Scholar
  34. Zhu T, Cheadle S, Petrella A, Gray S (2000) First-arrival tomography: method and application. 70th Annual Internatational Mtg, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Expanded Abstracts, 2028–2031Google Scholar
  35. Zhu X, Valasek P, Roy B, Shaw S, Howell J, Whitney S, Whitmore ND, Anno P (2008) Recent applications of turning-ray tomography. Geophysics 73(5):243–254Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Jardin
    • 1
  • Karine Broto
    • 1
  • Timothée Perdrizet
    • 2
  1. 1.IFP Energies NouvellesRueil-MalmaisonFrance
  2. 2.IFP Energies NouvellesRond-Point de l’échangeur de SolaizeSolaizeFrance

Personalised recommendations