Difference between revisions of "Acquisition"

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Acquisition in the field of geophysics is the generation and recording of seismic data. The generation of seismic waves (elastic waves) is carried out by the source. A source can be either natural such as: earthquakes, or controlled (induced) such as dynamite. For exploration purposes, controlled sources are used. An ideal seismic source is a source that is capable of generating a repeatable pulse of known frequency and other desired properties.
 +
==Introduction==
 +
Acquisition of seismic data is the first phase of the three main phases in the seismic industry, which are:
 +
#Seismic Acquisition
 +
#Seismic [[Processing]]
 +
#Seismic Interpretation
 +
The basic principle of seismic data acquisition is that, man-made seismic waves are just sound waves (also called acoustic waves) with frequencies typically ranging from 5 HZ to just over 100 HZ. (The lowest sound frequency audible to human ear is about 30 HZ). As these sound waves leave the seismic source and travel downward int the earth, they encounter changes in the Earth’s geological layering, which cause echoes (or reflections) to travel upward to the surface. Receivers detect the echoes arriving at the surface and convert them into electric signals, which are then goes through the processing phase to produce images of the earth’s shallow structure. The resulted images can then be interpreted to determine what type of rocks they represent and whether those rocks might contain valuable resources<ref>Brian J. Evans. (1997). A Handbook for Seismic Data Acquisition on Exploration. 10.1190/1.9781560801863. </ref>.
  
{{geophysics-stub}}
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Seismic acquisition can take place either on the surface of the earth (land acquisition), or seafloor (marine acquisition).
 +
 +
A typical acquisition system consists of the following components:
 +
*A source (such as: a vibrator unit, dynamite shot, or an air gun), generates acoustic or elastic vibrations that travel into the Earth, and pass through strata with different seismic responses.
 +
*Detectors (also known as receivers, for land acquisition geophones are used as receivers, while for marine acquisitions hydrophones are used), record the seismic responses returning to the surface after passing through strata.
 +
*Cables
 +
*Recording system
  
There are three major phases of seismic data:
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==Land Acquisition==
1) Acquisition
 
2) Processing
 
3) Interpretation
 
  
Data acquisition involves sending energy into the ground and recording the energy as it returns to the surface after bouncing (or echoing) off of the underground rock type boundaries.
+
=== Sources ===
The boundaries between rock types cause a change in what is called "acoustic impedance" which is a technical term that simply means that the energy changes when it hits that boundary. Some energy passes through the boundary and some energy bounces off of it and returns to the surface where it is recorded.
+
[[File:Dawson Vibrator.jpg|thumb|Figure 1: A picture of a vibroseis truck (or "thumper") used by Dawson Geophysical. The plate in the middle is used to transmit energy into the Earth.]]
Acquisition has two main components
+
Land acquisition for [[Reflection and refraction|reflection seismology]] uses an array of sources and receivers. The choices of which sources and receivers to use depend on the goals of the survey along with cost and environmental conditions.
  
1) sources
+
<u>Explosive Sources</u>
2) receivers
 
  
Sources and recievers are different for land and marine cases.
+
Dynamite is a commonly used impulse source for exploration. Dynamite is preferred  when the survey area is in harsh terrain that Vibroseis cannot traverse such as marshes, mountains, or environmentally sensitive areas. The dynamite must be buried prior to detonation to increase the amount of energy transmitted into the subsurface and for safety. Since the energy is produced instantly from the detonation, dynamite sources produce a wavelet that is roughly minimum phase. However, dynamite does have its drawbacks. Inconsistencies in the blasts along with variations in the burial depth and the local ground conditions will cause variations in the produced signal. Another impulse source used is modified shotguns called Betsy Guns. Betsy Guns are used for shallower and smaller surveys.
  
For land - the source is predominantly an array of vibratory source trucks that "excite" the ground and cause the energy to propagate through the earth.
+
<u>Vibratory Sources</u>
For marine - the source is an array of "air guns" The airguns build a tuned bubble of air in the water that causes a pressure wave to travel through the water which continues to propagate in the earth at the sea floor.
 
  
For land - the receiver is an array of geophones. At it's core, the geophone is a magnet and a coil. As the energy returns from the rock boundary interfaces it causes the earth to move at the surface and the geophone records that movement. The voltage values caused by the coil moving over the magnet is digitized into a digitally sampled seismic representation of how the surface of the earth moves and responds to the input stimulus from the vibrator trucks.
+
Another commonly used source type for petroleum exploration are vibratory sources. Vibroseis trucks, as shown in figure 1, are used to transmit energy into the earth using a specified range of frequencies over a specified time. The trucks feature a heavy mass that vibrates vertically on a base plate to transfer energy into the subsurface. The range of frequencies (i.e. how fast the mass vibrates) and the length of time that the vibration occurs are unique for each survey. Since the signal inputted into the subsurface is known, it can be mathematically removed in [[processing]] to help remove noise and create a trace that resembles the true reflectivity of the survey area. In an effort to improve the post-correlation signal to noise ratio, an array of vibroseis trucks may be used, as the post-correlation signal to noise ratio is S:R = F(LN)^1/2, where F = the weight of the truck(force applied), L = the length of the sweep and N = the number of sweeps<ref>Dean, Timothy & Tulett, J. (2014). The Relationship between the Signal-to-Noise Ratio of Downhole Data and Vibroseis Source Parameters. 10.3997/2214-4609.20140916. </ref>. Using an array of trucks will increase the force applied, therefore enhancing the Signal to noise Ratio (SNR). Generally, Vibroseis trucks generally only produce P-waves as they are designed to vibrate the mass vertically. Vibroseis trucks that produce S-waves exist, but they are rare and infrequently used. Vibroseis trucks are typically used when the acquisition region features no extreme topography, densely populated areas, and a relatively dry climate. Vibroseis trucks do not do well in wet climates, as they are very heavy and tend to get stuck and leave high amounts of property damage in wet terrain.  
  
For marine - the receiver is a pressure sensor commonly referred to as a hydrophone. As the energy travels through the water the pressure changes are recorded and digitized into a digitally sampled seismic representation of how the water responds to the input stimulus from the air gun bubble pulse.
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<u>Weight Drops</u>
  
In both cases the source is generally referred to as a "point source" which means that all of the energy emanates from a single location, but the receivers are laid out in a big areal array. The array can be a single long line of receivers for the 2D seismic or in a variety of different 3D surface arrays for 3D seismic.
+
Weight drops are another type of source. These are impulse sources which are generally used for shallow subsurface due to being much lower energy than dynamite or vibroseis. Examples of weight drops are sledgehammers hitting a metal plate on the ground and weights dropped heights of at least two meters. Accelerated weight drops (AWD) also fall in this category. AWD work by using a hydraulic system to lift a heavy steel hammer up, and a gas-charged piston forces the piston down. These have been proven as viable sources for [[Vertical seismic profiling (VSP)|VSP's]] and tool-orientation for micro-seismic surveys. <ref>Botelho, Marco & Schinelli, Marco & Guerra, Rafael. (2015). Successful Application of Accelerated Weight Drop on VSP Acquisition. 10.1190/sbgf2015-019. </ref>[[File:Geophone.png|thumb|210x210px|Figure 2: A geophone. The spike is designed to create a strong coupling between the geophone and the ground.]]
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=== Receivers ===
 +
For land surveys, geophones are used as the receivers. The instrument must have a solid connection to the ground, so they commonly feature spikes to help connect to the ground as seen in figure 2. Inside the geophone, a magnet is  attached to the sides with a coil of wire suspended inside the magnet. As reflected waves return, the body of the geophone vibrates with the ground caused by the up-going energy. The coil vibrates at a different rate than the body, so the coil moves in and out of the magnetic field which induces an electrical current. The produced electrical current is recorded and is called the seismic trace, which is a representation of the subsurface's response to the inputted energy from the source. 3C geophones are designed to record 3 components of the wavefield: the P, SH, and SV waves. Another option to use for land receivers are land streamers that are towed behind a vibroseis truck <ref>van der Veen, M & Spitzer, Roman & Green, AG & Wild, P. (2001). Design and application of a towed land-streamer for cost-effective 2D and pseudo-3D shallow seismic data acquisition. Geophysics. 66. 10.1190/1.1444939. </ref>.
  
Other terms you can look up for the 3D cases might include Full Azimuth and Narrow Azimuth.
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=== Survey Design ===
 +
The design of land surveys need to account for several factors:
  
Recording at multiple locations generates seismic "traces" or digital representation of the energy returning to the surface at different locations at different directions and distances from the source.  The traces are combined in different ways in processing to enhance the replication of reflected signal and remove the energy that is noise or unwanted energy.
+
1) '''Depth of target''': The target horizon's approximate depth needs to be known along with the regional [[Structural geology|geological structure]]. Steeply dipping strata can be difficult to image with seismic, and there needs to be enough offset to image the target depth. In order to properly sample a waveform, there must be at least two samples per cycle for the highest frequency, or else [[Spatial aliasing|aliasing]] occurs. a 3-D survey must be designed so that aliasing does not occur. As we usually do not know the subsurface geometry when designing a survey, a generous safety margin is usually built into the survey design (3 samples per wavelength is ideal). [[File:Full Fold.png|thumb|Figure 3: Cartoon depiction that illustrates how the acquisition area must be greater than the size of the target of interest<ref name=":0" />.|256x256px]]2) '''Logistics''': Permitting (getting permission from land owners), weather, and equipment availability will determine where and when a survey can be done.
 +
 
 +
3)'''Trace/Bin Spacing''': The trace spacing in 2-D seismic data helps determine lateral resolution of the data. The trace spacing must be close enough to identify true reflection dip, or else spatial aliasing will occur. For 3-D data, the bin is a subdivision of the seismic survey that typically has equal dimensions. Bins are commonly assigned by Common Midpoints (CMP). The number of traces is described as the fold, and the traces within each bin are stacked to increase data quality. Interpreters only use full-fold data, as that data has been fully sampled by all of the traces for each shot. Figure 3 illustrates how in order to fully sample a subsurface target, the acquisition area will be much larger than the actual subsurface target. This is necessary in order to sample the target with far-offset traces. Bin size also helps determines lateral resolution. A rule of thumb is to have 3 to 4 bins for the smallest feature the survey is trying to image. However, the [[Fresnel Volume Migration|Fresnel zone]] also must be considered, and whichever is larger (bin or fresnel zone size) will determine the lateral resolution of the data.
 +
 
 +
4) '''Survey size''': Ideally, the area of interest should be covered by full-fold data. In order to properly image the target of interest, the acquisition survey must be big enough to cover the entire target in the "Full Fold" region as pictured in Figure 3.<ref name=":0">Chaouch, A., and J. L. Mari, 2006, 3-D Land Seismic Surveys: Definition of Geophysical Parameter: Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue de lIFP, v. 61, no. 5, p. 611–630, doi:10.2516/ogst:2006002.</ref>
 +
[[File:Layout of a Seismic Survey.png|thumb|Figure 4: An example showing the goal of seismic surveys. The goal is to hit the same midpoint at a range of offsets to properly sample the target horizon.|293x293px]]
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For '''2-D seismic acquisition''', the source and receivers are arranged in a line with the goal of sampling the same event with multiple shots at varying offset as shown in figure 4. These traces can then be displayed together in a [[CMP stacking|CMP]] gather and then [[Stack-power maximization in practice|stacked]] to produce a single trace that enhances the strength of the signal.
 +
 
 +
In '''3-D seismic surveys''', the goal is the same is in 2-D surveys. Surveys aim to sample the same location at a range of offsets. Receivers are generally laid out in parallel lines (called the inline direction) with shot points perpendicular to the receiver directions (crossline direction). This creates a grid where shots are conducted along the crosslines, and as line of shots are completed, the receivers farthest behind the shot points is moved to the front of the survey. 
 +
 
 +
=== Vertical Seismic Profiles ===
 +
For '''Vertical Seismic Profiles''' (VSPs), receivers are lowered into a well via a wireline to selected depths as shown below in Figure 5. A source is placed close the wellhead, and several shots are performed. Generally 75 to 100 receivers are used with a spacing around 50 feet. One of the benefits of VSPs is that the full wavefied (both up and down going waves) are recorded and we know the exact depth of the geophones. Offset VSPs are designed similar to normal VSPs, however the source is set a certain distance away from the well, as shown in figure 6. "Walk-away" VSPs are also used to constrain seismic data and [[Anisotropic velocity analysis|anisotropy]]. These are acquired by keeping the down-hole receivers at a constant depth while conducting shots at different distances from the well. 
 +
[[File:Vertical Seismic Proflie.jpg|left|thumb|244x244px|Figure 5: A schematic showing the ray-paths of a VSP. Note we record both down and up-going waves.Spacing between the source and well has been exaggerated  for clarity.]]
 +
[[File:Offset VSP.jpg|center|thumb|Figure 6: An illustration of an offset VSP.]]
 +
 
 +
For further information, see the [[Land acquisition geometry]] page.
 +
 
 +
=== Downfalls of Land Acquisition ===
 +
* '''Terrain''': Land acquisition can prove to be very dangerous due to terrain. In mountainous regions, helicopters must be used to transport crew and equipment. This results in dangerous working conditions and is costly for the acquisition company.   
 +
* '''Permitting''': Seismic data can only be acquired on land that the acquisition company is permitted to access. Landowners who elect not to allow access can result in areas where no seismic data is acquired. 
 +
* '''Property''' '''damage''': As stated above, vibroseis trucks can cause property and environmental damage which must be paid for by the acquisition company. 
 +
* '''Dynamite''': For dynamite-sourced surveys, drilling shot holes is costly and dynamite is dangerous to handle in general.The signal of dynamite can also be inconsistent due to variations in charge, hole depth, and what the shot hole is drilled in 
 +
* '''Acquisition''' '''Footprint''': Spatial variations/irregularities in the data that is not geological in origin, but effects of acquisition and/or processing<ref>Brown, A. R., 2011, Interpretation of three-dimensional seismic data: Tulsa, OK, Published jointly by American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.</ref>. Data gaps due to permitting issues can lead to an irregular acquisition footprint, along with varying of any recording parameters during acquisition. 
 +
 
 +
==Marine Acquisition==
 +
[[File:Marine Seismic.jpg|thumb|Figure 7: A marine seismic vessel towing an array of streamers.<ref>https://www.iagc.org/geophysical-surveys.html</ref>]]
 +
Marine Acquisition is accomplished by using large vessels outfitted with sources and streamers that are towed behind the ship (Figure 7). During marine acquisition, the vessels continuously sail from shot to shot, and no time is spent moving geophones as in land acquisition. This makes marine acquisition generally faster and less expensive than land acquisition.
 +
 
 +
=== Sources ===
 +
In marine acquisition, since we cannot transmit energy directly into the subsurface like we do on land with dynamite or weight drops, the source is usually a pressure differential induced into the water column. The pressure difference travels through the water column and into the subsurface, and is reflected back up to the surface. Below are a few examples of sources used in marine acquisition.
 +
* Airguns are the most popular source used for offshore seismic acquisition. These are metal cylinders through which high pressure air is forced through and into the water column. The injection of air into the water creates a pressure pulse that travels through the water and into the subsurface. It is common to have multiple airguns firing at once to create an array.
 +
 
 +
* Sparkers are another source used for marine acquisition. These generate a pressure pulse in the form of a bubble by discharging an electrical current into the water.
 +
 
 +
* Boomers are sources used for relatively shallow surveys and generate the pressure differential mechanically.
 +
 
 +
* Chirp systems, like boomers, are used for shallow surveys. Chirp systems are vibratory sources. The chirp systems, sparkers, and boomers are high-frequency sources. This results in providing high resolution shallow data but lacking the energy to clearly image deeper deposits due to attenuation of their signal<ref>https://archive.epa.gov/esd/archive-geophysics/web/html/marine_seismic_methods.html</ref>.
 +
[[File:Diagram of a marine seismic survey.png|thumb|Figure 8: this diagram shows the layout of a marine seismic survey using towed streamers.]]
 +
 
 +
=== Receivers ===
 +
* Hydrophones: the typical receiver for marine seismic data. They measure pressure changes in the water, as energy in the subsurface is reflected through the water column where it creates a pressure pulse, which is measured by the hydrophone. This process is illustrated in figure 8. Factors to consider when recording marine seismic are: how deep to tow the hydrophones, the length of the streamer, along with the number of hydrophone groups.
 +
 
 +
* Ocean bottom cables: receivers used when recording shear wave data is desired.
 +
* Ocean bottom seismometers can be used. These are deployed and recovered via remote vehicles and are very costly to use.
 +
 
 +
=== Survey Design ===
 +
[[File:NATS MAZ.png|thumb|Figure 9: Left- Narrow Azimuth Towed streamer Right- Multi-Azimuth survey example
 +
|left]]There are several commonly used survey designs for marine seismic acquisition.
 +
*'''Parallel''' '''Geometry''': The survey ship sails a series of parallel lines
 +
* '''Narrow''' '''Azimuth''': Shown on the left in figure 9. This consists of one ship that tows streamers and deploys airguns.
 +
* '''Multi'''-'''Azimuth''': Figure 9 illustrates the process of acquiring Multi-azimuth data. This design involves at least 3 narrow azimuth surveys that cover the same survey area. The data is then combined during processing.
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* '''[[Wide azimuth (WAZ)|Wide-Azimuth]]:''' At least two source ships and one receiver ship are used, where one will tow streamers and one deploys the airguns. The goal is to increase the range of offsets for each source-receiver pair. This technique is commonly used for sub-salt imaging.
 +
For information about marine survey design and geometries, see the [[Wide azimuth (WAZ)|wide azimuth]] page.
 +
 
 +
=== Downfalls of Marine Acquisition ===
 +
* '''Streamers''': Difficulties of using streamers include location monitoring and [[Cable feathering|feathering]]. Cross-currents can cause the long (3 to 6km) streamers to bend or become entangled, which results in various problems during processing do to the inconsistent receiver geometry. 
 +
* '''Wildlife''': wildlife must be considered as surveys cannot operate nearby dolphins, whales and other marine life. 
 +
* '''No recorded S-wave'''s: only P-waves can be recorded by hydrophones as shear waves cannot travel through fluids. Acquisition also cannot take place nearby off-shore wells, which may affect the coverage of the seismic data.
 +
* '''Acquisition''' '''Footprint''': As for land seismic, marine acquisition is subject to acquisition footprint. Typically, marine data has a linear footprint parallel with the movement of the vessel. 
 +
* '''Salt''': While salt bodies can be encountered in land surveys, it is much more common to encounter in offshore surveys. [[Salt kinematics|Salt]] attenuates seismic signal and makes interpretation difficult. If salt is known to be in an area, its effects must be considered when designing a survey.
 +
 
 +
== References ==
 +
<references />{{reflist}}
 +
 
 +
==See also==
 +
*[[Processing of 3-D seismic data]]
 +
*[[Marine acquisition geometry]]
 +
*[[Vibroseis deconvolution]]
 +
 
 +
==External links==
 +
http://wiki.aapg.org/Seismic_data_acquisition_on_land
 +
 
 +
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflection_seismology
 +
 
 +
http://wiki.aapg.org/Marine_seismic_data_acquisition
 +
 
 +
https://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/en/Terms/s/seismic_acquisition.aspx
 +
 
 +
https://www.iagc.org/geophysical-surveys.html

Latest revision as of 17:21, 21 April 2020

Acquisition in the field of geophysics is the generation and recording of seismic data. The generation of seismic waves (elastic waves) is carried out by the source. A source can be either natural such as: earthquakes, or controlled (induced) such as dynamite. For exploration purposes, controlled sources are used. An ideal seismic source is a source that is capable of generating a repeatable pulse of known frequency and other desired properties.

Introduction

Acquisition of seismic data is the first phase of the three main phases in the seismic industry, which are:

  1. Seismic Acquisition
  2. Seismic Processing
  3. Seismic Interpretation

The basic principle of seismic data acquisition is that, man-made seismic waves are just sound waves (also called acoustic waves) with frequencies typically ranging from 5 HZ to just over 100 HZ. (The lowest sound frequency audible to human ear is about 30 HZ). As these sound waves leave the seismic source and travel downward int the earth, they encounter changes in the Earth’s geological layering, which cause echoes (or reflections) to travel upward to the surface. Receivers detect the echoes arriving at the surface and convert them into electric signals, which are then goes through the processing phase to produce images of the earth’s shallow structure. The resulted images can then be interpreted to determine what type of rocks they represent and whether those rocks might contain valuable resources[1].

Seismic acquisition can take place either on the surface of the earth (land acquisition), or seafloor (marine acquisition).

A typical acquisition system consists of the following components:

  • A source (such as: a vibrator unit, dynamite shot, or an air gun), generates acoustic or elastic vibrations that travel into the Earth, and pass through strata with different seismic responses.
  • Detectors (also known as receivers, for land acquisition geophones are used as receivers, while for marine acquisitions hydrophones are used), record the seismic responses returning to the surface after passing through strata.
  • Cables
  • Recording system

Land Acquisition

Sources

Figure 1: A picture of a vibroseis truck (or "thumper") used by Dawson Geophysical. The plate in the middle is used to transmit energy into the Earth.

Land acquisition for reflection seismology uses an array of sources and receivers. The choices of which sources and receivers to use depend on the goals of the survey along with cost and environmental conditions.

Explosive Sources

Dynamite is a commonly used impulse source for exploration. Dynamite is preferred when the survey area is in harsh terrain that Vibroseis cannot traverse such as marshes, mountains, or environmentally sensitive areas. The dynamite must be buried prior to detonation to increase the amount of energy transmitted into the subsurface and for safety. Since the energy is produced instantly from the detonation, dynamite sources produce a wavelet that is roughly minimum phase. However, dynamite does have its drawbacks. Inconsistencies in the blasts along with variations in the burial depth and the local ground conditions will cause variations in the produced signal. Another impulse source used is modified shotguns called Betsy Guns. Betsy Guns are used for shallower and smaller surveys.

Vibratory Sources

Another commonly used source type for petroleum exploration are vibratory sources. Vibroseis trucks, as shown in figure 1, are used to transmit energy into the earth using a specified range of frequencies over a specified time. The trucks feature a heavy mass that vibrates vertically on a base plate to transfer energy into the subsurface. The range of frequencies (i.e. how fast the mass vibrates) and the length of time that the vibration occurs are unique for each survey. Since the signal inputted into the subsurface is known, it can be mathematically removed in processing to help remove noise and create a trace that resembles the true reflectivity of the survey area. In an effort to improve the post-correlation signal to noise ratio, an array of vibroseis trucks may be used, as the post-correlation signal to noise ratio is S:R = F(LN)^1/2, where F = the weight of the truck(force applied), L = the length of the sweep and N = the number of sweeps[2]. Using an array of trucks will increase the force applied, therefore enhancing the Signal to noise Ratio (SNR). Generally, Vibroseis trucks generally only produce P-waves as they are designed to vibrate the mass vertically. Vibroseis trucks that produce S-waves exist, but they are rare and infrequently used. Vibroseis trucks are typically used when the acquisition region features no extreme topography, densely populated areas, and a relatively dry climate. Vibroseis trucks do not do well in wet climates, as they are very heavy and tend to get stuck and leave high amounts of property damage in wet terrain.

Weight Drops

Weight drops are another type of source. These are impulse sources which are generally used for shallow subsurface due to being much lower energy than dynamite or vibroseis. Examples of weight drops are sledgehammers hitting a metal plate on the ground and weights dropped heights of at least two meters. Accelerated weight drops (AWD) also fall in this category. AWD work by using a hydraulic system to lift a heavy steel hammer up, and a gas-charged piston forces the piston down. These have been proven as viable sources for VSP's and tool-orientation for micro-seismic surveys. [3]

File:Geophone.png
Figure 2: A geophone. The spike is designed to create a strong coupling between the geophone and the ground.

Receivers

For land surveys, geophones are used as the receivers. The instrument must have a solid connection to the ground, so they commonly feature spikes to help connect to the ground as seen in figure 2. Inside the geophone, a magnet is attached to the sides with a coil of wire suspended inside the magnet. As reflected waves return, the body of the geophone vibrates with the ground caused by the up-going energy. The coil vibrates at a different rate than the body, so the coil moves in and out of the magnetic field which induces an electrical current. The produced electrical current is recorded and is called the seismic trace, which is a representation of the subsurface's response to the inputted energy from the source. 3C geophones are designed to record 3 components of the wavefield: the P, SH, and SV waves. Another option to use for land receivers are land streamers that are towed behind a vibroseis truck [4].

Survey Design

The design of land surveys need to account for several factors:

1) Depth of target: The target horizon's approximate depth needs to be known along with the regional geological structure. Steeply dipping strata can be difficult to image with seismic, and there needs to be enough offset to image the target depth. In order to properly sample a waveform, there must be at least two samples per cycle for the highest frequency, or else aliasing occurs. a 3-D survey must be designed so that aliasing does not occur. As we usually do not know the subsurface geometry when designing a survey, a generous safety margin is usually built into the survey design (3 samples per wavelength is ideal).

Figure 3: Cartoon depiction that illustrates how the acquisition area must be greater than the size of the target of interest[5].

2) Logistics: Permitting (getting permission from land owners), weather, and equipment availability will determine where and when a survey can be done.

3)Trace/Bin Spacing: The trace spacing in 2-D seismic data helps determine lateral resolution of the data. The trace spacing must be close enough to identify true reflection dip, or else spatial aliasing will occur. For 3-D data, the bin is a subdivision of the seismic survey that typically has equal dimensions. Bins are commonly assigned by Common Midpoints (CMP). The number of traces is described as the fold, and the traces within each bin are stacked to increase data quality. Interpreters only use full-fold data, as that data has been fully sampled by all of the traces for each shot. Figure 3 illustrates how in order to fully sample a subsurface target, the acquisition area will be much larger than the actual subsurface target. This is necessary in order to sample the target with far-offset traces. Bin size also helps determines lateral resolution. A rule of thumb is to have 3 to 4 bins for the smallest feature the survey is trying to image. However, the Fresnel zone also must be considered, and whichever is larger (bin or fresnel zone size) will determine the lateral resolution of the data.

4) Survey size: Ideally, the area of interest should be covered by full-fold data. In order to properly image the target of interest, the acquisition survey must be big enough to cover the entire target in the "Full Fold" region as pictured in Figure 3.[5]

For 2-D seismic acquisition, the source and receivers are arranged in a line with the goal of sampling the same event with multiple shots at varying offset as shown in figure 4. These traces can then be displayed together in a CMP gather and then stacked to produce a single trace that enhances the strength of the signal.

In 3-D seismic surveys, the goal is the same is in 2-D surveys. Surveys aim to sample the same location at a range of offsets. Receivers are generally laid out in parallel lines (called the inline direction) with shot points perpendicular to the receiver directions (crossline direction). This creates a grid where shots are conducted along the crosslines, and as line of shots are completed, the receivers farthest behind the shot points is moved to the front of the survey.

Vertical Seismic Profiles

For Vertical Seismic Profiles (VSPs), receivers are lowered into a well via a wireline to selected depths as shown below in Figure 5. A source is placed close the wellhead, and several shots are performed. Generally 75 to 100 receivers are used with a spacing around 50 feet. One of the benefits of VSPs is that the full wavefied (both up and down going waves) are recorded and we know the exact depth of the geophones. Offset VSPs are designed similar to normal VSPs, however the source is set a certain distance away from the well, as shown in figure 6. "Walk-away" VSPs are also used to constrain seismic data and anisotropy. These are acquired by keeping the down-hole receivers at a constant depth while conducting shots at different distances from the well.

File:Vertical Seismic Proflie.jpg
Figure 5: A schematic showing the ray-paths of a VSP. Note we record both down and up-going waves.Spacing between the source and well has been exaggerated for clarity.
File:Offset VSP.jpg
Figure 6: An illustration of an offset VSP.

For further information, see the Land acquisition geometry page.

Downfalls of Land Acquisition

  • Terrain: Land acquisition can prove to be very dangerous due to terrain. In mountainous regions, helicopters must be used to transport crew and equipment. This results in dangerous working conditions and is costly for the acquisition company.
  • Permitting: Seismic data can only be acquired on land that the acquisition company is permitted to access. Landowners who elect not to allow access can result in areas where no seismic data is acquired.
  • Property damage: As stated above, vibroseis trucks can cause property and environmental damage which must be paid for by the acquisition company.
  • Dynamite: For dynamite-sourced surveys, drilling shot holes is costly and dynamite is dangerous to handle in general.The signal of dynamite can also be inconsistent due to variations in charge, hole depth, and what the shot hole is drilled in
  • Acquisition Footprint: Spatial variations/irregularities in the data that is not geological in origin, but effects of acquisition and/or processing[6]. Data gaps due to permitting issues can lead to an irregular acquisition footprint, along with varying of any recording parameters during acquisition.

Marine Acquisition

Figure 7: A marine seismic vessel towing an array of streamers.[7]

Marine Acquisition is accomplished by using large vessels outfitted with sources and streamers that are towed behind the ship (Figure 7). During marine acquisition, the vessels continuously sail from shot to shot, and no time is spent moving geophones as in land acquisition. This makes marine acquisition generally faster and less expensive than land acquisition.

Sources

In marine acquisition, since we cannot transmit energy directly into the subsurface like we do on land with dynamite or weight drops, the source is usually a pressure differential induced into the water column. The pressure difference travels through the water column and into the subsurface, and is reflected back up to the surface. Below are a few examples of sources used in marine acquisition.

  • Airguns are the most popular source used for offshore seismic acquisition. These are metal cylinders through which high pressure air is forced through and into the water column. The injection of air into the water creates a pressure pulse that travels through the water and into the subsurface. It is common to have multiple airguns firing at once to create an array.
  • Sparkers are another source used for marine acquisition. These generate a pressure pulse in the form of a bubble by discharging an electrical current into the water.
  • Boomers are sources used for relatively shallow surveys and generate the pressure differential mechanically.
  • Chirp systems, like boomers, are used for shallow surveys. Chirp systems are vibratory sources. The chirp systems, sparkers, and boomers are high-frequency sources. This results in providing high resolution shallow data but lacking the energy to clearly image deeper deposits due to attenuation of their signal[8].
File:Diagram of a marine seismic survey.png
Figure 8: this diagram shows the layout of a marine seismic survey using towed streamers.

Receivers

  • Hydrophones: the typical receiver for marine seismic data. They measure pressure changes in the water, as energy in the subsurface is reflected through the water column where it creates a pressure pulse, which is measured by the hydrophone. This process is illustrated in figure 8. Factors to consider when recording marine seismic are: how deep to tow the hydrophones, the length of the streamer, along with the number of hydrophone groups.
  • Ocean bottom cables: receivers used when recording shear wave data is desired.
  • Ocean bottom seismometers can be used. These are deployed and recovered via remote vehicles and are very costly to use.

Survey Design

File:NATS MAZ.png
Figure 9: Left- Narrow Azimuth Towed streamer Right- Multi-Azimuth survey example

There are several commonly used survey designs for marine seismic acquisition.

  • Parallel Geometry: The survey ship sails a series of parallel lines
  • Narrow Azimuth: Shown on the left in figure 9. This consists of one ship that tows streamers and deploys airguns.
  • Multi-Azimuth: Figure 9 illustrates the process of acquiring Multi-azimuth data. This design involves at least 3 narrow azimuth surveys that cover the same survey area. The data is then combined during processing.
  • Wide-Azimuth: At least two source ships and one receiver ship are used, where one will tow streamers and one deploys the airguns. The goal is to increase the range of offsets for each source-receiver pair. This technique is commonly used for sub-salt imaging.

For information about marine survey design and geometries, see the wide azimuth page.

Downfalls of Marine Acquisition

  • Streamers: Difficulties of using streamers include location monitoring and feathering. Cross-currents can cause the long (3 to 6km) streamers to bend or become entangled, which results in various problems during processing do to the inconsistent receiver geometry.
  • Wildlife: wildlife must be considered as surveys cannot operate nearby dolphins, whales and other marine life.
  • No recorded S-waves: only P-waves can be recorded by hydrophones as shear waves cannot travel through fluids. Acquisition also cannot take place nearby off-shore wells, which may affect the coverage of the seismic data.
  • Acquisition Footprint: As for land seismic, marine acquisition is subject to acquisition footprint. Typically, marine data has a linear footprint parallel with the movement of the vessel.
  • Salt: While salt bodies can be encountered in land surveys, it is much more common to encounter in offshore surveys. Salt attenuates seismic signal and makes interpretation difficult. If salt is known to be in an area, its effects must be considered when designing a survey.

References

  1. Brian J. Evans. (1997). A Handbook for Seismic Data Acquisition on Exploration. 10.1190/1.9781560801863.
  2. Dean, Timothy & Tulett, J. (2014). The Relationship between the Signal-to-Noise Ratio of Downhole Data and Vibroseis Source Parameters. 10.3997/2214-4609.20140916.
  3. Botelho, Marco & Schinelli, Marco & Guerra, Rafael. (2015). Successful Application of Accelerated Weight Drop on VSP Acquisition. 10.1190/sbgf2015-019.
  4. van der Veen, M & Spitzer, Roman & Green, AG & Wild, P. (2001). Design and application of a towed land-streamer for cost-effective 2D and pseudo-3D shallow seismic data acquisition. Geophysics. 66. 10.1190/1.1444939.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Chaouch, A., and J. L. Mari, 2006, 3-D Land Seismic Surveys: Definition of Geophysical Parameter: Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue de lIFP, v. 61, no. 5, p. 611–630, doi:10.2516/ogst:2006002.
  6. Brown, A. R., 2011, Interpretation of three-dimensional seismic data: Tulsa, OK, Published jointly by American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
  7. https://www.iagc.org/geophysical-surveys.html
  8. https://archive.epa.gov/esd/archive-geophysics/web/html/marine_seismic_methods.html

See also

External links

http://wiki.aapg.org/Seismic_data_acquisition_on_land

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflection_seismology

http://wiki.aapg.org/Marine_seismic_data_acquisition

https://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/en/Terms/s/seismic_acquisition.aspx

https://www.iagc.org/geophysical-surveys.html