Fernanda Araújo Gasparotto

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Fernanda Araújo Gasparotto
Fernanda Araujo Gasparatto headshot.png
PhD university University of Bahia

Fernanda Araújo Gasparotto was honored with the J. Clarence Karcher Award for her pioneering work on the attenuation of internal multiples in marine seismic data. Through a combination of mathematical analysis, physical intuition, and empirical tests, Fernanda has made significant contributions to understanding how internal multiples are attenuated within the inverse-scattering series. Her insights played an important role in the development of the only set of algorithms that can attenuate both free-surface and internal multiples in multidimensional marine seismic data without having to know velocity or structural information.

Biography Citation for the J. Clarence Karcher Award

Contributed by Arthur B. Weglein

It is a pleasure to write this citation for Fernanda Araújo Gasparotto for SEG’s J. Clarence Karcher Award. This award recognizes her technical contribution in the area of inverse-scattering attenuation of internal multiples.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree (1989) in electrical engineering from the University of Brasilia and a PhD (1994) in geophysics from the Federal University of Bahia-PPPG in Salvador, Brazil.

Paulo M. Carvalho, Fernanda’s immediate predecessor as my PhD student, played a key part in pioneering and developing the inverse-scattering freesurface multiple elimination method for marine streamer data. The next step in the overall strategy was elimination of internal multiples with absolutely no subsurface information, neither velocity analysis nor interpretive intervention. Fernanda worked on that problem as part of her dissertation. This turned out to be the most difficult and challenging technical problem with which I have been involved in to-date.

Imagine being able to predict all internal multiples and thereby separate, e.g., the ringing in a salt body from a subsalt primary without any information about the salt body, or the medium above or below. Most believed (and they so informed us) that this objective was impossible in principle—let alone practically achievable. Companies that supported various aspects of this long-term research effort include ARCO, Petrobras, Schlumberger, and Conoco. This effort was driven by a vision that recognized the potential for stepchange improvements in seismic processing that reside within the inverse-scattering series. I suggested that since the creation of the internal multiple began in the third term in the forward series that its removal might begin in the third term in the inverse. Since the portion of the third term in the forward that contributed to the construction of the internal multiple appeared to satisfy a lower-higher-lower relationship, it was further suggested that the analogous diagram would provide the portion of the third term in the inverse where the key to removal would reside.

Fernanda made several specific and fundamental contributions to this effort. For example, she was the first to recognize that many different quantities could be taken through the chosen diagram in the third term in the inverse series. Through an incredible combination of intelligence, mathphysics analysis, testing, intuition, creativity, and courage,

Fernanda persisted and succeeded in determining the quantity best suited to the purposes of eliminating internal multiples. That quantity turned out to be the surface reflection data multiplied by the obliquity factor of the source. Fernanda provided us with a deeper understanding of the processes that reside within the inverse series. She carefully tested and evaluated the method with this hypothesis on realistic synthetic data and coauthored the patent on the algorithm. Her contribution represents a landmark in seismic data processing.

Her efforts were essential to the evolution of concepts and algorithms that led to the only current production strength codes that automatically attenuate all multiples from a multidimensional earth. Specifically, her contribution facilitated the subsequent efforts of Richard Coates, Dennis Corrigan, Ken Matson, Paulo Carvalho, and Chi Young to field test application of the internal multiple algorithm on marine streamer data, and its eventual extensions to oceanbottom and onshore data.

I was fortunate to have been proximal to the technical issues and challenges to appreciate both the tremendous depth and practical significance of her singular contribution. Fernanda is currently a research scientist at ExxonMobil and continues to contribute to the general area of attenuating multiples, on 3-D applications in particular. I am certain that we will see further outstanding contributions from her in the future

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Fernanda Araújo Gasparotto
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