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Pitfalls and limitations in seismic attribute interpretation of tectonic features

Marfurt, Kurt J. and Alves, Tiago Marcos 2015. Pitfalls and limitations in seismic attribute interpretation of tectonic features. Interpretation 3 (1) , SB5-SB15. 10.1190/INT-2014-0122.1

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Seismic attributes are routinely used to accelerate and quantify the interpretation of tectonic features in 3D seismic data. Coherence (or variance) cubes delineate the edges of megablocks and faulted strata, curvature delineates folds and flexures, while spectral components delineate lateral changes in thickness and lithology. Seismic attributes are at their best in extracting subtle and easy to overlook features on high-quality seismic data. However, seismic attributes can also exacerbate otherwise subtle effects such as acquisition footprint and velocity pull-up/push-down, as well as small processing and velocity errors in seismic imaging. As a result, the chance that an interpreter will suffer a pitfall is inversely proportional to his or her experience. Interpreters with a history of making conventional maps from vertical seismic sections will have previously encountered problems associated with acquisition, processing, and imaging. Because they know that attributes are a direct measure of the seismic amplitude data, they are not surprised that such attributes “accurately” represent these familiar errors. Less experienced interpreters may encounter these errors for the first time. Regardless of their level of experience, all interpreters are faced with increasingly larger seismic data volumes in which seismic attributes become valuable tools that aid in mapping and communicating geologic features of interest to their colleagues. In terms of attributes, structural pitfalls fall into two general categories: false structures due to seismic noise and processing errors including velocity pull-up/push-down due to lateral variations in the overburden and errors made in attribute computation by not accounting for structural dip. We evaluate these errors using 3D data volumes and find areas where present-day attributes do not provide the images we want.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Additional Information: Published online: 24/11/14.
Publisher: Society of Exploration Geophysicists and American Association of Petroleum Geologists
ISSN: 2324-8858
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 8 August 2014
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2019 09:26

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