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GEOPHYSICS, VOL. 63, NO. 3 (MAY-JUNE 1998); P. 1041-1052, 16 FIGS., 1 TABLE.

3-D seismic imaging of complex structures

in glacial deposits

Hamid R. Siahkoohi* and Gordon F. West*

However, intense urban and suburban expansion is now chang-

ABSTRACT ing the environment rapidly. Water supply, sewage, and solid
A small-scale, shallow-penetration 3-D reflection seis- waste disposal have become major issues. Although Lake
mic survey has been carried out over stratified glacial Ontario offers a copious supply of fresh water for the fully
formations to test the method’s potential for delineating developed areas, water wells are widely used in the lesser de-
fine structural details with a reasonable field effort and veloped regions because good aquifers are often present in the
cost. Recording was carried out with a 96-channel en- glacial beds. Water pollution is a serious concern.
gineering seismograph. Blank shotgun shells were used In most places, the Pleistocene sequence is very well strat-
as the energy source. Field records were obtained with ified and consists of Wisconsin-age till layers a few meters to
usable reflection energy up to 500 Hz, exploring approx- some tens of meters thick that overlie sequences of glacio-
imately a 220-m cubical volume. Although special pro- lacustrine sediments (sand-silt-clay) that themselves may over-
cessing was required to attenuate strongly dispersed and lie older tills. According to physical property measurements
scattered surface waves, a stacked data volume of good at the meter and submeter scale, most of the tills are imper-
quality has been assembled. More than 15 reflecting hori- meable enough to protect aquifers in underlying sands from
zons with vertical resolution of about 1.5 m were clearly contamination by surface activities such as municipal waste
delineated within the Wisconsin sediments. Results are landfills. However, other field evidence points to some inter-
in good agreement with local outcrops and core infor- connection between surface and deeper waters (Gerber and
mation. The identified reflectors (interbeds) within the Howard, 1996). Thus, in the vicinity of any prospective land-
Late Wisconsin tills are extremely important. These re- fill or other potential source of contaminated water, there is a
flectors may provide potential “hydraulic channels” for need to detect any possible pathways through the till aquitards
the movement of surface contaminants through the till (for example, such features as permeable crossbeds, glacially
into underlying aquifers. induced faults, etc).
In recent years, 2-D multifold high-resolution reflection seis-
mology has proven itself to be a highly practical tool for tracing
the main features of near-surface strata in many geological en-
The Greater Toronto area (GTA) in southern Ontario, vironments (e.g., Steeples and Miller, 1990). It has been used
Canada, is a large urban center on Pleistocene glaciated ter- with considerable success in the GTA region for several years
rain (Figure 1). Physiographically, most of the region is a gently to map the general aspects of the glacial stratigraphy (Pullan
rolling till plain dissected by postglacial stream valleys flowing et al., 1994; Boyce et al., 1995).
to Lake Ontario. In some places, morainal deposits and drum- However, the resolution of very local structures by the 2-D
lins lie on the tills. The Pleistocene sequence, which usually is seismic surveys has been insufficient to identify geologic char-
less than 100 m thick, rests disconformably on a glacially eroded acteristics that might control hydrogeological problems. Since
sequence of nearly flat-lying Paleozoic sediments that overly a 3-D seismic survey methods developed in petroleum explo-
Precambrian igneous-metamorphic basement at a depth of at ration generally provide a much higher resolution than com-
least several hundred meters. parable 2-D surveys, it is natural to consider whether 3-D sur-
Although heavily forested after the glacial retreat, much veying might yield similarly beneficial results in the shallow
of the GTA has been active farm land for some 150 years. environment.

Presented at the 66th Annual International Meeting, Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Manuscript received by the Editor February 3, 1997;
revised manuscript received October 1, 1997.
*University of Toronto, Geophysics Laboratory, Department of Physics, 60 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S lA7 Canada. E-mail: hamid
@geophy.physics.utoronto.ca; west@physics.utoronto.ca.
© 1998 Society of Exploration Geophysicists. All rights reserved.

1042 Siahkoohi and West

We therefore decided to test the imaging capability of 3-D Thorncliffe glacio-lacustrine sediments overlying Sunnybrook
seismic surveying in the GTA geological environment. How- Till and early Wisconsin Scarborough glacio-lacustrine sedi-
ever, 3-D seismic surveys for petroleum exploration are ex- ments arrow 1967; Boyce et al., 1995).
pensive, and seismology for environmental applications has The Late Wisconsin till layers correspond to two different
to be carried out in a more restricted economic regime than directions of late-stage ice motion in the area. The younger
petroleum exploration. For instance, near-surface geophysics till (Halton Till, up to 15 m thick) was deposited by a short-
has to compete with alternative methods (such as drilling) that lived north-directed flow of ice from the Lake Ontario basin
are an order of magnitude less costly than the corresponding about 13 000 years ago. The older and more heavily compacted
item in petroleum exploration. Thus, any proposed 3-D method
for near-surface studies must be practical to carry out with en-
gineering seismic methods and crews.
Our experimental 3-D survey was carried out east of Toronto
in a region where we had already conducted 2-D seismic sur-
veys along roads. It is located near the community of Whitevale
in Durham Region (Figure 1), in an area considered for a possi-
ble large municipal landfill. The site, known as P1, covers about
3 km2 and is one of several that has been investigated by drilling
and other studies (M. M. Dillon Ltd., 1990). Agricultural land
use still predominates in the area.


The geology of the site consists of about 90 m of Quaternary

(Pleistocene) sediments deposited during the last full cycle of
continental glaciation and deglaciation (Wisconsin, <125 ka).
In this area, the sediments rest unconformably on Upper Or-
dovician (460-440 Ma) Whitby Shale bedrock. No remanents
of earlier glacial cycles have been found in this region.
As shown in Figure 2, the Pleistocene deposits can be divided
into two main depositional sets. The upper deposits (-50 m
thick) are a pair of late Wisconsin tills: the Halton and Northern FIG. 2. A summary of the Pleistocene geological sequence in
Tills. A lower set (-40 m thick) consists of middle Wisconsin the survey site.

FIG. 1. Map of the study area showing location of site P1, where the 3-D survey was carried out.
Engineering Scale 3-D Seismic Survey 1043

Northern Till was deposited by southerly flowing ice during deep, waterfilled shot hole. The ability of the site to transmit
most of the late Wisconsin deglaciation in the interval 25- high frequencies was the prime concern, but analysis of the col-
13.5 ka. The two tills are separated by a thin layer (2-10 m) lected 2-D seismic data also helped to determine the general
of silt, sand, and gravel, which records a short-lived intersta- aspects of the subsurface.
dial period (possibly the Mackinaw Interstadial; Karrow and The 3-D test survey covered a 220 x 220 m area and was
Occhietti, 1989). The tills frequently contain lenses and thin designed with a nominal 12-fold coverage in 3-m bins. It was
layers of sandy material, presumably marking temporary flota- carried out in early December 1994, just at the onset of win-
tions of the ice. The Northern Till rests disconformably on the ter, when water tables are highest and frost was hardening up
Thorncliffe Formation of the underlying middle and lower Wis- the topsoil and when agricultural activity would not be dis-
consin deposits. turbed. With a crew of only four persons, field operations in-
The Thorncliffe Formation comprises deltaic sands and la- cluding gridding, leveling, drilling, and seismic data acquisition
custrine silt and clay. It was deposited during the middle part of were completed in 12 days. Short daylight hours (maximum
the Wisconsin glaciation, presumably in a period of temporary 6 hours/day), slow field operation (due to about 10-15 inches
regression of the ice. of snow on the ground), and inexperience with the equipment
Underlying the Thorncliffe Formation is the Sunnybrook limited productivity.
Till. It is a distinctive dark gray, fine-grained, clayey-silt till. The survey geometry consisted of seven parallel shot lines at
It records the earliest (and main) Wisconsin ice advance into 36-m spacing orthogonal to ten parallel receiver lines with 24-m
the area. spacing (Figure 4a). Shot spacing on the shot lines was 6 m; geo-
The basal Scarborough Formation is deltaic sediment de- phone trace spacing on the recording lines was 3 m, with only
posited at about 90 ka in glacial lake Scarborough. It is the single shots and geophones at each point. This is a typical land
earliest Wisconsin deposit in the Toronto area. geometry for a minimum of field effort (Galbraith, 1994). The
Although the various glacial formations are occasionally recording seismic patch was a 72 x 72 m area consisting of four
well exposed in outcrops along the Rouge River and West receiver lines of 24 geophones and two shot lines with 12 shots
Duffins Creek (Figure 1), most information about the Pleis- per line (see Figure 4a). To cover the entire survey as shown in
tocene stratigraphy in our area comes from drilling in and near Figure 4b, the recording patch was rolled along the cross-line
the P1 site. Core and outcrop allow detailed comparison and direction with two receiver lines overlapped (48 m), and rolled
correlation of seismofacies with lithofacies. along the in-line direction with one shot line overlap (36 m).
The 3-D test survey was carried out in a nearly flat farm field. The seismic recorder was an Oyo-Geospace DAS-1 digital
The soil is a well-plowed and relatively uniform clayey loam engineering seismograph with 24-bit A/D converter, used with
that appears to be developed directly on the Halton till. 50-Hz geophones, a 140-Hz low-cut filter, and a sampling inter-
val of 0.125 ms. As seen in Figure 5, shot records with a usable
seismic signals up to about 500 Hz were obtained by shooting
in l-m deep, waterfilled shot holes and recording at stations
Small-scale, multifold 2-D seismic surveys using a hammer each with a single geophone buried to a depth of 50 cm.
source have been successfully conducted along well-compacted The data set consisted of 550 shot records, each with 96 traces.
and paved roadbeds near the P1 area. Usable frequency con- Fold, as seen in Figure 6a, was uniform at 12 in the inner parts of
tent to 350 Hz was readily obtained. However, much poorer the survey area, but ranged from 9 to 1 within 20 m of the edge.
frequency response was obtained in plowed fields. Thus, prior Common midpoint (CMP) gathers for bins near the crossing
to designing the 3-D seismic survey, a small-scale 2-D seis- points of the shot and receiver lines contained a broad range of
mic reflection profile (Figure 3) was carried out over the farm shot-receiver offsets as well as a good distribution of azimuths.
field using a shotgun source device (“buffalo gun”; Pullan and In other areas, most shot-receiver offsets were in the middle
MacAulay, 1987) firing a 12-gauge blank shotgun shell in a l-m range and azimuths changing with bin location.

FIG. 3. Unmigrated 2-D stacked section from the region where the test 3-D seismic survey was to be conducted.
1044 Siahkoohi and West

As seen in Figure 6b, in some of the CMP bins (e.g., 27-30)

the traces have only two or three different azimuths. This is
due to the asymmetric distribution of the shot lines over the
seismic patch, in other words, by not including shot points along
the third shot line in the patch. Shot-receiver offsets in these
CMP bins are mostly in the near to middle range (20-60 m).
In hindsight, this probably was a false economy in the survey
procedures. Also, offset and azimuth distribution can be further
improved by shifting every other shot line about half a shot
spacing (i.e., 3 m) along the cross-line direction.
Data processing (outlined in Table 1) was carried out us-
ing the Landmark INSIGHT 2-D and 3-D software on a Sun

FIG. 4. Orthogonal line 3-D seismic survey geometry. (a) The

shaded rectangle indicates the recording seismic patch. It con-
tains two shot lines and four receiver lines. (b) Recording seis-
mic patches after rolling one unit along the in-line direction
and one unit in the cross-line direction.

FIG. 6. Fold, offset, and azimuth distributions over the 3-D

seismic survey area. (a) Overall fold distribution over the CMP
bins. Most of the CMP bins have a uniform overall fold of 12.
(b) Offset-azimuth distribution over an area bounded by two
adjacent shot lines and two adjacent receiver lines [see (a) for
exact location]. For presentation purposes, the size of each line
FIG. 5. Amplitude spectrum of a sample of the 3-D seismic is equal to the cube root of the shot-receiver offset normalized
shot records [composite spectrum of all traces in time windows by the cube root of maximum shot-receiver offset within the
ms) excluding surface and air waves]. Also shown is CMP gather. Note that shorter lines may be hidden by longer
the composite spectrum of ambient noise at the site. ones in the same direction.
Engineering Scale 3-D Seismic Survey 1045

10 workstation. INSIGHT is Unix-based software, but the re- are visible outside the surface-wave area. Before any filtering
quired processing power is no more than that of a modern high- began, time-offset weighted gain was applied on each individ-
level Pentium-style computer. The software, however, must be ual trace within the data set to compensate for geometrical
capable of handling 3-D geometry. spreading.
Despite the fairly high dominant frequency in the records Static corrections were estimated from complete picks of
(~300 Hz) and because no shot/receiver arrays were employed, first arrival data with the Hampson-Russell GLI-3D software
the records contained strong, dispersed, and scattered surface package. The method uses 3-D generalized linear inversion
waves which heavily obscure the reflection signal in parts of (Hampson and Russell, 1984) to develop a 3-D layered model
the record. However, as shown in Figure 7, clear reflections of the subsurface with curved interfaces. A two-layer near-
surface model consisting of a weathered layer underlain by
an unweathered subspace was found to predict the observed
Table 1. Data processing steps applied on 3-D seismic
data set. first arrivals to within a misfit of 0.5 ms. The total shot and
receiver refraction statics ranged from -6.3 to 2.1 ms and from
Basic Preparation -5.7 to -1.6 ms, respectively.
Editing/resampling Special attention had to be given to the removal of source-
Data gaining and filtering generated coherent noises. Surface waves and air waves were
Prestack Processing strong and could not be sufficiently attenuated by any simple
stacking procedure, especially because the 3-D geometry gave a
Short-wavelength refraction static correction
Air-wave attenuation less regular range of offsets at each CMP than a 2-D profile sur-
Surface-wave attenuation vey. It required the development of a technique that is capa-
Spectral balancing ble of eliminating the source-generated coherent noises in the
Surface-consistent amplitude scaling shot/receiver domain (i.e., before stacking). Of several meth-
Velocity analysis and NMO correction ods tested, the most effective were a Karhunen-Loeve (K-L)
Long-wavelength refraction static correction decomposition technique (Levy et al., 1983; Ulrych et al., 1983;
Residual static correction
Stacking Jones and Levy, 1987) to eliminate air waves and a 3-D local
slant stacking technique (3D-LSS) to attenuate surface waves.
Poststack Processing
The K-L decomposition technique computes a set of un-
Coherency maximization correlated (orthogonal) principal component traces from
3-D time and depth migration an eigenvalue decomposition of the matrix of zero lag

FIG. 7. Sample of a field record after (100-150-550-650 Hz) band-pass filtering. It contains 96 traces recorded by four receiver
cables, each with 24 geophones. Large portions of the reflection signals have been masked by the surface and air waves (pointed
out by arrows).
1046 Siahkoohi and West

cross-covariances of the given multitrace input data set. The surface wave train included substantially dispersed and back-
most coherent events in the input data can then be constructed and side-scattered components. Thus, it could not be flattened
by summing the principal component traces corresponding to satisfactorily at any single velocity. A 3-D local slant stacking
a few of the strongest components. technique was therefore used. The shot gather was first NMO
We applied the K-L decomposition technique on 96 trace corrected with an approximate velocity model to make reflec-
shot records flattened on the air waves (330 m/s), then used tion events nearly flat. Then, a local slant stack was used to
the first five of the 96 principal components to estimate the air- remove all events with very different slopes.
wave component of the records. A windowed version of the The forward slant-stack transformation for a specified small
air waves was then subtracted from the original input record. range of event slopes was successively applied to a small subset
Figure 8 gives an example of the original and reconstructed air (five traces) of adjacent traces in the input record. This was fol-
waves. Figure 9 depicts the same shot record as in Figure 7 after lowed by an inverse transformation to reconstruct the middle
suppression of the air waves. trace of the selected subset. The trace window was slid for-
The K-L method was tested for removal of surface waves, ward across the input record (gather) trace by trace until the
but was much less satisfactory than for air waves because the whole record had been processed. In the first pass, traces were

FIG. 8. A comparison between flattened versions of the air wave: (top) original air wave, (bottom) K-L reconstructed version.

FIG. 9. The same field record as in Figure 6 after elimination of the air waves with the K-L filter.
Engineering Scale 3-D Seismic Survey 1047

processed in shot-gather form. In a second pass, the procedure process took place in 222 depth steps, each with 66 frequency
was applied on common-receiver gathers where adjacent traces intervals.
corresponded to adjacent shots along the cross-line direction.
In this pass, only a three-trace filter was used.
As part of the local slant stack, a spectral adjustment was The final products of prestack processing sequences were a
made to compensate for the radon transform’s theoretical set of synthetic zero-offset (CMP-stacked) seismograms and
spectral attenuation and also to improve the high/low- the interval velocity model. Figure 11 presents an example 3-D
frequency balance of the record. This was followed by a surface view of the pair.
consistent amplitude scaling that focussed purely on reflected The synthetic zero-offset stacked data volume is a
body waves to adjust for shot effectiveness. Figure 10 shows 74 x 73 x 1001 matrix of seismic-reflection amplitudes cover-
the K-L and 3D-LSS filtered output after applying spectral ad- ing a survey area of 220 x 220 m with a trace bin of 3 x 3 m to a
justment and a surface-consistent amplitude scaling. two-way traveltime of 250 ms. The seismograms in the data vol-
After the filtering steps, the velocity analysis was refined in ume have a vertical half wavelength resolution of about 1.2 ms,
several successive steps, and a variety of bin stacks of the data corresponding to about 1.5 m of depth. More than 15 horizons
volume were computed. In the final stacked data volume, a 2-D can be identified within the Wisconsin sediments.
median filter was applied on a square patch of nine adjacent The velocity model data matrix has the same dimensions
CMP bins to rebuild the middle stacked trace. This further im- as the seismogram matrix, but it has much lower intrinsic
proved trace-to-trace coherency, and especially removed occa- resolution in time and space. One view of the cube of interval
sional bursts of surface wave noise that could not be suppressed velocity model is shown in Figure llb. For comparison, it is
by the slant stacking because of unfortunate shot-receiver ge- selected from the same view point as the cube of time-stacked
ometry or occasionally poor shot conditions. data. The color range for the cube of interval velocities was
Finally, a 3-D phase-shift depth migration (Gazdag, 1978; chosen so as to present velocity information within the till
Gazdag and Squazzero, 1984) employing a spectrum slicing ap- deposits in more detail.
proach was applied to the CMP stacked data using the velocity The interval velocity model was considered reliable enough
model obtained from stacking velocities. According to Gazdag to permit poststack depth migration. Figure 12 shows a view
(1978) this method is capable of migrating reflectors with a of the migrated data volume. Note that this cube has been ro-
dip of up to 75°. Initially, a laterally averaged velocity function tated 180” with respect to the cube of time-stacked data shown
was used to perform phase-shift migration in a frequency-by- in Figure lla. It covers approximately a 220-m cubical subsur-
frequency manner. Then, to achieve a 3-D depth migration, face volume with a trace bin of 3 x 3 m. A sample section along
a first-order phase correction was applied at each frequency the in-line direction of the depth migrated data is indicated in
to account for lateral velocity variations. The whole migration Figure 13 beside a geological interpretation of the formation

FIG. 10. The same field record as in Figure 9 after attenuation of surface waves using the 3-D local slant stack filter (3D-LSS). A
spectral adjustment and surface-consistent amplitude scaling were also applied to this data after 3D-LSS filtering.
1048 Siahkoohi and West

FIG. 11. A view into (a) the cube of synthetic zero-offset data and (b) the cube of interval velocity model. The time slice at about
85 ms shows reflections from near the bedrock surface.

FIG. 12. A view into the cube of the depth-migrated data. The depth slice at 95 m shows reflections from at, and just beneath, the
bedrock surface. A sample of the depth-migrated section along the in-line direction together with its geological interpretation is
shown in Figure 13.
Engineering Scale 3-D Seismic Survey 1049

stratigraphy. Colors indicate different geological units, and val- at the necessary frequencies. Thus, it is an essential prerequi-
ues of average interval velocity are given. site that a satisfactory shooting and detection methodology be
Boyce et al. (1995) reported the results of various geophys- devised for the terrain in question
ical, geotechnical, and hydrogeological investigations at site The following points arise from our experience with this
P1. To compare our results with previous works at the area, a survey.
natural gamma log and corresponding lithologic log are pre-
sented in Figure 13. The logs are from one of the nearby drilled 1) Preservation of high frequencies required us to employ
holes at site P1 (borehole 26, about 350 m north of the 3-D a single shot and geophone at each point because irreg-
survey site) and were adapted from Figure 5 of Boyce et al. ularity in the thickness and properties of the aerated soil
(1995). layer in the farm field (which had a very low airlike veloc-
The main geological sequences identified in Figure 13 corre- ity) was enough to destroy the performance of arrays at
late very well with units identified on the logs. The discrepancy high frequency. The choice of seismic source, filling the
of about 2 m in depth (especially clear for the interstadial unit) shot holes with water, use of high-frequency Hz)
is easily explicable in view of typical geological undulations geophones, and burying them about 0.5 m below surface
seen by the 2-D surveys, but may also have been caused by were all found to be beneficial in maintaining shot ampli-
different elevation reference points. tude and spectral consistency.
The top 50 m of the depth section in Figure 13a corresponds 2) A simple orthogonal-line survey geometry together with
to late Wisconsin till (Halton Till at the top and Northern Till at a straightforward data acquisition scheme made it possi-
the bottom). A narrow reflection at a depth of about 13-20 m ble to conduct the whole 3-D survey with a relatively low
correlates with sorted interstadial sediments between the two budget, small field crew, and with standard engineering
tills. This is the uppermost aquifer in the study area and has an seismic equipment. On the other hand, data processing
average thickness about 7 m. A detailed 3-D geometry of this brought to light several problems related to the use of
unit is given in Figure 14. such a simple geometry.
Generally, tills are expected to be massive deposits lacking 3) Generally, shooting at a single point generates strong sur-
internal stratification. However, strong, continuous reflectors face waves. These must be removed in processing. This
are seen within the Northern Till. Drilling often does reveal thin can be facilitated by use of straight lines of uniformly and
sand-gravel beds in the Northern Till, and outcrops show them relatively closely spaced shots and detectors.
to be laterally continuous for as much as 10 m. However, the 4) To obtain a uniform S/N ratio and trace character over
seismic sections show that they are of much greater continuity the 3-D volume of stacked data, the distribution of off-
and extent than has previously been realized. sets and azimuths in the CMP bins should be as uniform
A less continuous sand and gravel body is visible in the mid- as possible. This could have been achieved with a less lin-
dle Northern Till on the northeastern side of the survey block. ear shot and receiver distribution, but that would have
This deposit is elongated in the direction of ice flow (northeast- conflicted with item 3 above. Some research should be
southwest) and likely represents a thin “wedge” of sand and devoted to design an acquisition geometry that is an op-
gravels that perhaps was deposited by meltwater flowing in timum compromise between items (3) and (4).
channels at the ice base. It covers about a fifth of the survey
area. Figure 15 shows cross-sections of the feature along several CONCLUSIONS
in-line depth-migrated sections; Figure 16 displays constant-
depth slices near its top and bottom. The survey provided a cube of stacked data covering a sub-
Middle and early Wisconsin sediments appear on the depth- surface volume of 220 x 220 x 200 m with a trace bin of 3 x 3 m.
migrated section (Figure 13) between depths of about 50 and Results surpassed our expectations in several ways. The survey
85 m. The 3-D survey clearly shows a foreset bedding within was relatively easy to carry out using standard engineering-
the Scarborough deltaic sediments in the depth range about 70 scale seismic equipment and a four-person crew in about 80
to 85 m. This suggests that similar but less regular patterns of crew-hours. The stacked sections have a fairly high dominant
discontinuity and variation in the other reflections also are real frequency (-300 Hz) and display many clear reflection events.
features, not data artifacts. The 3-D interval velocity model obtained from stacking veloci-
The reflecting horizons in the Paleozoic section (Figure 13a, ties assisted greatly in geological identification of the reflectors
below ~90 m) are noticeably smoother than those in the and was good enough to permit poststack depth migration. De-
Quaternary section. This is to be expected from the known tails of the stratigraphy are much more clearly revealed in the
geology, and indicates that the velocity model contains no 3-D data than in nearby 2-D sections.
lateral errors that would lead to spurious “pull ups” and “push The results did not show any faulting within the till deposits
downs” of reflectors. in this small area, but it identified fairly continuous reflectors
(interbeds) within the Northern Till and a possible sand wedge.
DISCUSSION These units may facilitate the movement of surface contami-
nants through the till aquitards into underlying aquifers by
The reduction in spatial scale (relative to standard petroleum interconnecting occasional short transverse paths.
seismology) necessary to apply 3-D seismic techniques to shal- In summary, a 3-D shallow seismic survey is practical and
low targets necessitates an increase in the frequencies em- leads to a higher resolution subsurface image. The orthogo-
ployed. This might seem straightforward, but deleterious ef- nal line geometry is operationally feasible, cost-effective, and
fects arising from the absorption properties and irregularity of gives satisfactory results. We believe that high-resolution 3-D
the superficial layers of aerated soil can make it difficult to work seismic surveying can contribute substantially to the detailed
1050 Siahkoohi and West

FIG. 13. Seismofacies and corresponding Quaternary lithofacies. (a) A sample section through the cube of depth-migrated data
along the in-line direction (see little cube for approximate location). (b) Geological interpretation of the depth-migrated seismic
section with average interval velocities. For comparison, natural gamma and lithologic logs from a nearby borehole (-350 m north
of the survey area) are presented. HT = Halton Till, IS = interstadial sediments, UNT = Upper Northern Till, TC = Thorncliffe
Formation, SU = Sunnybrook Till, SC = Scarborough Formation, and W = Whitby Formation (shale). The logs have been adapted
from Boyce et al. (1995).

FIG. 14. A 3-D image of the boundaries of the uppermost aquifer, extracted from the cube of depth-migrated stacked data.
Engineering Scale 3-D Seismic Survey 1051

FIG. 15. The top 50 m of four depth-migrated stacked sections along the in-line direction. They reveal a wedge of contrasting
material within the Northern Till (highlighted with green color).

FIG. 16. Two depth slices extracted from the cube of depth-migrated stacked data. They are located at the top (de th 32 m) and
bottom (depth 39 m) of the wedge material within the Northern Till. Light colors correspond to positive polarity.
Siahkoohi and West

assessment of hydrogeological/engineering sites with complex generalized linear inversion: J. Can. Soc. Expl. Geophys., 20, 4-8.
geology. Jones, I. E., and Levy, S., 1987, Signal-to-noise ratio enhancement in
multichannel seismic data via the Karhunen-Loeve transformation:
Geophys. Prosp., 35, 12-32.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Karrow, P. F., 1967, Pleistocene geology of the Scarborough area: On-
tario Department of Mines, Geological Report 46.
We are grateful to the Memorial University of Newfound- Karrow, P. F., and Occhietti, S., 1989, Quaternary geology of the St.
Lawrence Lowland of Canada, in Fulton, R. J., Ed., Quaternary geol-
land for providing a 96-channel Oyo-Geospace DAS-1 digital ogy of Canada and Greenland: Geol. Sur. Can., Geology of Canada,
seismograph. HRS expresses his gratitude to the Iranian Min- 1, 321-389.
istry of Culture and Higher Education (IMCHE) for its finan- Levy, S., Ulrych, T. J., Jones, I. F., and Oldenberg, D. W., 1983, Applica-
tions of complex common signal analysis in exploration seismology:
cial support under scholarship No. 411/36645. The research was Proceedings of the 53rd Ann. Internat. Mtg., Soc. Expl. Geophys.,
also funded by an NSERC Research grant to GFW. We thank
the reviewers and Assistant Editor for their helpful comments M. M. Dillon Ltd., 1990, Regional Municipality of Durham contingency
landfill site assessment: Technical Support, volume B, Hydrogeology.
and suggestions. (Available at the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and
Mines Library, Toronto.)
REFERENCES Pullan, S. E., and MacAulay, H. A., 1987, An in-hole shotgun source
for engineering seismic surveys: Geophysics, 52, 985-996.
Boyce, J. I., Eyles, N., and Pugin, A., 1995, Seismic reflection, borehole Pullan, S. E., Pugin, A., Dyke, L. D., Hunter, J. A., Pilon, J. A., Todd,
and outcrop geometry of late Wisconsin tills at a proposed landfill B. J., Allen, V. S., and Barnett, P. J., 1994, Shallow geophysics in a
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