Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 1507-1509


Vertical Seismic Profiling

  • James W. RectorIIIAffiliated withDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Berkeley Email author 
  • , Maria-Daphne MangriotisAffiliated withApplied Geophysics, Institute of Engineering Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (ITSAK)




Vertical Seismic Profiling A geophysical technology for measuring the seismic properties in a profile of the earth using a set of sources and receivers, either of which are placed along the depth (vertical) axis.


Vertical seismic profiling (commonly abbreviated to the name VSP) is a major technique in geophysical exploration, which involves measuring downgoing and upgoing seismic wavefields through a stratigraphic sequence. Shortly after the first attempts of developing surface reflection seismology, where both sources and receivers were at the surface, the line of research set out with the idea of burying either sources or receivers in boreholes. McCollum and LaRue (1931) proposed that local geologic structure could be determined from measuring the arrival of seismic energy from surface sources with buried receivers. This geometry forms the basic principle of determining seismic wave propagation velocities from VSP measurem ...

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