Overview of Seismic Exploration


  • Definition of exploration seismology
  • Applications of exploration seismology

Theoretical principles of seismic wave propagation

  • Seismic wave theory
  • Body waves and surface waves
  • P-waves and S-waves
  • Seismic velocities
  • Wavefront and raypath descriptions of seismic propagation
  • Seismic mode conversions
  • Reflection and refraction (Snell's law)

Seismic data acquisition

  • Basics of reflection seismology (source, receiver, shot, trace, offset)
  • Land acquisition
  • Marine acquisition
  • 3-D seismic data acquisition
  • Recent advances in acquisition technology
  • Multicomponent data acquisition
  • Refraction surveys
  • Downhole seismic data acquisition

Processing and imaging seismic reflection data

  • Improving temporal resolution: deconvolution and filtering
  • Improving signal-to-noise content: the CMP method
  • Improving lateral resolution: migration
    • Prestack migration
    • Migration velocity analysis
    • Time migration and depth migration

Interpretation of seismic reflection data

  • Geologic interpretation of seismic data
  • Inspection and preliminary interpretation: Costa Rica example
  • Reflection picking and structural identification
  • Areal mapping and 3-D interpretation
  • Seismic stratigraphy and offset-dependent reflectivity (AVO)
  • Time-lapse and multicomponent seismology


  1. Fagin, Stuart W., Seismic Modeling of Geologic Structures, 1991, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK.
  2. Sheriff, Robert E,. Encyclopedic Dictionary of Exploration Geophysics Third Edition, 1991, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK.
  3. Sheriff, Robert E. and Lloyd P. Geldart, Exploration Seismology, 1995, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  4. Yilmaz, Ozdogan, Seismic Data Analysis, Volumes 1 and 2, 2000, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK.

Walter Kessinger

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