J. Clarence Karcher Award 2012
Jyoti Behura is receiving the J. Clarence Karcher Award in recognition of significant contributions to the science and technology of exploration geophysics as author and researcher. Jyoti is the lead author of five papers in Geophysics, three in The Leading Edge, and eight expanded abstracts and a co-author on an additional paper in Geophysics and an expanded abstract. Jyoti’s PhD thesis (“Estimation and analysis of attenuation anisotropy”) led to a technical paper in Geophysics for which he and his co-author and advisor, Ilya Tsvankin, received the 2009 Best Paper in Geophysics Award. Before tackling the problem of attenuation anisotropy, he did other anisotropy-related studies, in particular analyzing the behavior of reflection coefficients for PSwaves in tilted transversely isotropic media. Among the topics that Jyoti successfully pursued as an aside to his PhD research are seismic interferometry and the rock physics of oil shales and heavy oil sands. Jyoti Behura has the combination of creativity in his science, perseverance for digging deeply into intricate scientific problems, and talent for conveying complex ideas with clarity.
Biography Citation for the J. Clarence Karcher Award
It is not uncommon for graduate students to maintain a narrow focus on their thesis topic, which sometimes hampers their future careers. In contrast, Jyoti Behura has shown his scientific curiosity and versatility since his first days in the PhD program at Colorado School of Mines (CSM). While in graduate school, he did original research over a more diverse range of topics than just about any other student in the Center for Wave Phenomena (CWP) we can remember. Jyoti often chose to work on scientific problems outside the stipulated topic of his research, and did so in great depth. His approach would typically take him into underlying principles and theory, and would be always targeted at a practically important solution. For example, although Jyoti specialized in seismology, he also investigated the shear properties of oil shales and heavy oils in Mike Batzle’s rock physics laboratory. Jyoti received an integrated master’s and bachelor’s degree in exploration geophysics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, where he was recognized (among other distinctions) by the G. B. Mitra Memorial Award for the best graduating master’s student. Soon after joining the CSM graduate program in 2003, Jyoti began working on a complicated project dealing with the reflection coefficient of PS-waves for tilted transversely isotropic media. He showed that the symmetry-axis tilt on either side of the reflector could produce strong mode conversions at normal incidence—a seemingly puzzling phenomenon observed in many field data sets.
In his PhD thesis devoted to anisotropic attenuation analysis, Jyoti obtained a number of groundbreaking theoretical results that provide the basis for using directionally dependent attenuation coefficients in fracture characterization and lithology discrimination. A most intriguing finding is related to the influence of the so-called “inhomogeneity angle” (the angle between the directions of plane-wave propagation and maximum attenuation) on seismic amplitudes. Because the inhomogeneity angle is very difficult to measure, its possible impact had long confounded inversion and interpretation of seismic attenuation measurements. The fundamental result proved by Jyoti is that the group attenuation coefficient estimated from seismic data is practically independent of the inhomogeneity angle and reflects the intrinsic attenuation of the material, even when the medium is arbitrarily anisotropic. The study of the inhomogeneity angle was reported in a 2009 article, which received the Best Paper in Geophysics Award. Earning this award as a graduate student is an enormous achievement.
Another novel development in Jyoti’s thesis is a methodology to estimate interval attenuation coefficients from reflection seismic data. His algorithm is entirely data-driven and does not require prior information about the subsurface velocity field, which makes it applicable to realistic anisotropic media. Jyoti successfully tested anisotropic (actually, designed for orthorhombic media!) attenuation analysis on a data set from Coronation Field in Canada and demonstrated that the attenuation coefficient can serve as an indicator of gas accumulation. Overall, his thesis discusses a complicated theoretical subject with utmost clarity and physical insight.
One area unrelated to his thesis project that Jyoti has decided to explore was the theory of seismic interferometry. He developed an original interferometric methodology that he aptly named “Virtual Real Source.” Jyoti’s growth as a researcher and presenter of complex ideas is evidenced by his impressive list of peer-reviewed papers and talks at technical meetings, including well-received presentations at the International Workshops on Seismic Anisotropy in China (2006) and the U.S. (2008).
After his graduation from Mines, Jyoti worked for two years with the seismic imaging group at BP in Houston, and in 2011 returned to CMP as a postdoctoral fellow. He continues to tackle a wide range of difficult problems with infectious enthusiasm and shows a lot of potential as a mentor of our graduate students. Jyoti is known as a loyal colleague with a keen sense of humor and strong personal integrity. He admirably combines his impressive professional skills with a great strength of character. Whether he decides to take his vast talents to academia or industry, Jyoti is certain to be a real asset for his colleagues and the geophysics community.
Behura, J. and Tsvankin, I. (2009). ”Role of the inhomogeneity angle in anisotropic attenuation analysis.” GEOPHYSICS, 74(5), WB177–WB191. doi: 10.1190/1.3148439