David Halliday

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David Halliday
David F. Halliday headshot.png
PhD university University of Edinburgh


David Halliday produced an excellent thesis on the theory and application of seismic interferometry. The main subject of the thesis is the application of seismic interferometry to predict seismic surface waves and use these predictions to suppress surface waves from measured data. Halliday did a lot of fundamental research on the underlying theory, which led to a number of insights in the relation between seismic interferometry and the generalized optical theorem. He also developed his surfacewave prediction and suppression methodology to be applied in more practical situations. David now is at Schlumberger where he has contributed to other research topics, much of which has yet to be published in the open literature. Among David’s most recent contributions is distributed land source work which he presented at the 2013 EAGE convention. This is outstanding achievement throughout, from an exceptional scientist who deserves the recognition of our community.


Biography Citation for the J. Clarence Karcher Award 2013

Contributed by Andrew Curtis and Johan Robertsson

David graduated from the University of Edinburgh Geophysics program in 2005 with a First Class BSc Honours degree. He won his scholarship to begin a PhD at the University of Edinburgh between 2005 and 2009 supervised by ourselves (Professor Andrew Curtis, University of Edinburgh, and Professor Johan Robertsson, then Geophysics Department Head, Schlumberger Cambridge Research), and Professor Xiang-Yang Li (then Head of the Edinburgh Anisotropy Project). Prior to beginning his PhD, he worked for three months of the summer with Schlumberger where his work contributed to a filed patent which he co-authored. David’s thesis was titled “Surface Wave Interferometry”, and within this body of work he demonstrated one of only three or four practical industrial applications of seismic interferometry that had emerged since the field’s explosion in popularity since 2004: direct and scattered ground roll removal from industrial seismic data. However, true to David’s typical style of understatement about his own achievements, this thesis title belies the exceptional diversity and impact of the resulting ten papers, two extended abstracts, and two patents. David’s contributions to the science and application of seismic interferometry have been exceptional in every way.

His work initially focused on the use of cross-correlational interferometry to estimate surface wave (ground roll) components of Green’s functions (shot records from impulsive sources) between pairs of geophones at two separate locations within seismic surveys, using only energy from active sources at locations surrounding the pair of locations; these estimates are then adaptively subtracted from the actively recorded source-receiver Green’s functions measured when a source is placed at or beside one of the two geophone locations, and is recorded at the other. The result is a source-receiver record with no ground roll. David demonstrated that this method works well in practical seismic surveys using field data from a large 3D survey conducted in the Middle East.

This body of work would have been sufficient for a very good PhD; however, it represents only about half of what David achieved during his thesis years. In particular, David’s work on new forms of interferometry (so-called source-receiver interferometry) showed the relevance to imaging and lead to a new imaging theorem that is consistent with multiply-scattered wavefields. This work was further extended to show that interferometry provides a generalized and dynamically consistent theorem similar to the groundbreaking paper “PP+PS=SS” by Grechka and Tsvankin in 2002.

e believe that such a body of work is almost unheard of from a single PhD project, let alone one that spanned only 3.5 years. However, David then went on to excel in his new position in Schlumberger Gould Research, U.K. Through a combination of stationary phase analysis and source-receiver interferometry, David came up with a method and associated requirements for acquisition geometries that were fairly consistent with existing field practice.

The scattered ground-roll attenuation technique by David is now used successfully in the field in areas where most other existing techniques have failed. Since starting at Schlumberger, David has made significant contributions to other research topics also outside of seismic interferometry (imaging methods, near-surface characterization and 3D deghosting of marine seismic data to name a few), much of which has yet to be published in the open literature. Among David’s most recent innovative contributions is the distributed land source work which he presented at this year’s EAGE meeting in London.

This is outstanding achievement throughout, from an exceptional scientist who deserves the recognition of our community. We are therefore very pleased that he has been awarded the J. Clarence Karcher Award -– a fitting tribute.