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The Seismic Waves

Electrical
Signal

Phones
Explosive Earth Surface

Vibration
Sub Surface

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Wave Front
Wavefront- Locus of all the particles of a medium which are
vibrating in the same phase at any instant.

Mono Pole

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Seismic waves travel as wave fronts

(Animation by J. Barker)

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Wavefronts & Rays

(A) in constant velocity medium (B) when velocity varies with direction

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Huygens's Principle

Primary wavefront

Secondary wavefront

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Seismic Survey Principle
Ideal Primary
Traces
Source Receiver
Seismic Survey Principle

Ideal Primary
Traces
Source Receiver
Land Seismic Survey

Source
(Vibroseis)
Phone

Reflected
waves
Incident
waves
Sedimentary layers

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Seismic Waves

• Longitudinal waves
• Transverse waves

• Body waves; (Primary and Secondary- Waves)


• Surface waves; (Rayleigh & Love wave)

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Wave Motion

Mexican Wave

Transverse Wave

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Body Waves

Longitudinal Wave
P- wave

Transverse Wave
S- wave

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Propagation of Rayleigh & Water Waves

Rayleigh Wave

Water Wave

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Love Waves

Love Wave

• These waves travel along the free surface of a solid


material
• The particle motion is horizontal and transverse
• Since their motion is restricted to horizontal motion, they
are not recorded in P- wave prospecting

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Propagation of waves

The velocity of the P-wave depends on the bulk modulus and


the mass density of the medium

V =√ (E / ρ)

V = velocity of the wave


E = bulk modulus of the medium
ρ = density of the medium

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Phenomena associated with Seismic
Waves

• Generation
• Transmission
• Attenuation

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Geometric Spreading

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Attenuation
• At each interface, the amount of energy reflected is proportional
to the acoustic impedance contrast at the interface.
• The energy of the original pulse therefore decays by divergence
and also with each reflection as each input pulse is continuously
reflected when passes through the earth due to changes in
impedance.
• The pulse also changes its shape as it travels through the earth
due to absorption, scattering and dispersion because the higher
frequencies are attenuated more rapidly.
• Several processing routines are used to compensate for
attenuation of the wavefield

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Attenuation

• Attenuation is the process in which seismic wave


amplitude weakens with distance or time traveled

• Attenuation of the signal may be due to:

- Geometric Spreading
- Absorption
- Reflection
- Refraction
- Diffraction
- Scattering
- Mode conversion
- Short period multiple

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Absorption

• Loss of amplitude due to frictional dissipation of the energy


into heat.
• The amplitude decreases exponential with distance.

• Higher frequency signals are absorbed faster than lower


frequencies.

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Absorption

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Loss of Higher Frequency due to Absorption

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Reflection

Reflection at Soft surface Reflection at Hard surface

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Reflection & Refraction

Normal Pulse Reflected at Reflected at


Denser medium Rarer medium

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Reflection & Refraction

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Changes in velocity create reflections

Incident P wave reflected


V1
interface
V2
transmitted
P wave V1, V2 P-wave velocity
S wave V2 > V1

• An incident P wave can produce both P and S waves.


• A large difference in V1 and V2 will in general produce large reflected waves.
• The relative amplitude of the transmitted and reflected P and S waves
depend on the angle of the incident and the interface.

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At near vertical incidence, most of these complications go away

1) For most reflection seismology, we ignore P to S conversions


2) For angles less than 15°

Rc = (Z2-Z1)/(Z1+Z2)

Z = rV

• where v is the P-Wave velocity and ρ is the density.


• Z acoustic impedance
• Rc reflection coefficient.
• At Rc = 0, all energy is transmitted.
At Rc = 1, all energy is reflected.
• Rc is an important parameter in reflection seismology.

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Reflection Strength
Common Values of RC
Interface V1 ρ1 V2 ρ2 Z1/Z2 Rc

Water/Air 1500 1 360 0.00012 3800 - 0.9994

Water/Rock 1500 1 3000 2.5 0.2 + 0.67

Units: Velocity in m /s Density in gm/cc

• Negative Rc means a 180° phase reversal


• The water/air is a very good reflector (and so is water/rock),
waves can reflect repeatedly between the two (multiples…)
• This can be a problem in shallow water with hard seabed.

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Reflection & Refraction

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Refraction

Snell’s Law:
• It defines the geometry of the ray path in a medium by
the following equation.
• Sin i / Sin r = V1/ V2

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Seismic events
• Travel time curves are fundamental to any understanding and
discrimination of seismic events.

• Different kinds of events may be recognized by their travel time


characteristics, amplitude variations, and relationship to related events:

- Air wave
- Direct wave
- Reflection
- Surface wave
- Head wave
- Diffraction
- Ghost
- Multiples

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Primary and Multiple Reflection Events

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High velocity
Direct Arrival
2D Seismic Record

Reflection from
sub-surface

Refraction

Low velocity
Air waves
Low velocity
Ground Roll

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Raw Seismic Data

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Imaging through Reflection & Refraction

The lines are reflections due to changes in velocity which are in turn
usually due to differences in lithology.

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Zero Offset

• The simplest type of acquisition would


be to use a single coincident source
and receiver pair and profile the earth
along a line

• Such an experiment would be called a


zero-offset experiment

• The resulting seismic data will be


single-fold because there will be only
a single trace per sub-surface
position.

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CMP GATHER
• The general idea of the method is to
acquire a series of traces (gather) which
are reflected from the same common
subsurface mid-point.
• The traces are then summed (stacked)
to get superior signal-to-noise ratio in
comparison to that of the single-fold
stack data
• The fold of the stack is determined by
the number of traces in the CMP gather.

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Zero Offset Vs CMP Method

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Seismic Section

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Seismic Data for Exploration
Distance
0 (m) 0

1 1

2 2

3 3
Time (s)

4 4

5 5

6 6

7 7

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