James E. Gaiser is an American geophysicist whose research interests include 3D imaging and velocity model building in anisotropic media, noise attenuation, and converted waves. He is currently a senior scientist with Geokinetics, Inc. In 2016, Gaiser published 3C Seismic and VSP: Converted waves and vector wavefield applications, a book "of interest to geophysicists, geologists, and engineers, especially those involved with or considering the use of AVO/A inversion, fracture/stress characterization analyses, or interpretation in gas-obscured reservoirs." The book accompanies the 2016 SEG Distinguished Instructor Short Course (DISC).
Gaiser received an MS (1977) in geophysics from the University of Utah and PhD (1989) in geophysics from the University of Texas at Dallas.
In 1977, Gaiser joined ARCO in the geophysical analysis and processing group before moving to research and development in 1981, where he worked on vertical seismic profiling, elastic wave imaging, and seismic anisotropy. He worked with Western Geophysical/Geco from 1992 to 2007 conducting research in coherent-noise suppression, depth migration and multicomponent processing, and with ION Geophysical – GXT Imaging Solutions from 2007 to 2009 where he worked on interferometry, and 3D converted wave seismology.
SEG Life Membership 2007
Gaiser was awarded with Life Membership in recognition of exceptional service that he has rendered to the Society in 2007. He has an impressive record of scientific achievement and contributions to the field of exploration geophysics, especially in multicomponent and converted-wave seismics. His achievements are represented by an impressive list of patents and scholarly publications.
He has generously shared his know-how as an active member of the SEG Research Committee. He has served, organized, and/or convened research workshops in several different years. Gaiser has been an instructor in the SEG Continuing Education Program since 1998. He has served on the Council and as vice president, president, and past-president of the Denver Geophysical Society.
As an impressionable student, working with ARCO Research in Dallas in the 1980s, I was most impressed with a wonderful new colleague Jim Gaiser. Jim's life was exceptional. He was raising two boys with his wife Kathy (a former ballerina and remarkable person in her own right), swimming each morning, working full time as a geophysicist, doing his Ph.D. part-time, and playing bluegrass music in the evening! Wow, I thought, how accomplished. He mustn't have very much time to eat. But, sure enough, he later even pioneered a new nutritional method of carbohydrate balance called the 'Zone.' I discovered that the Zone was really a dietary metaphor for the healthy harmony across Jim's active life.
Jim has maintained long-term commitments in both his professional and personal life. He worked 14 years with ARCO Oil and Gas (and its predecessors) in Plano, Texas, and then 14 years at Western Geophysical and its later incarnations (Jim seems to last longer than the company names do). He has recently joined GX Technology in Denver, Colorado, and we would expect to see him there for a number of productive years.
Along this geophysical path, Jim has collaborated with many of our industry leaders Fred Barr, Mike Batzle, John Castagna, Dennis Corrigan, Jim DiSiena, Dan Ebrom, Heloise Lynn, George McMechan, Tony Probert, Ken Tubman, and Rich Van Dok to name a few. His efforts with these colleagues and numerous joint projects makes me sure that from elementary school onward he's "received works well with others" on his report card. And while I've never seen him run with scissors, we have shared some dicey turns on motorcycles through the Swiss Alps and mountainous terrains of Brazil.
Jim has been a champion of converted-wave seismic exploration. In the land and marine worlds, he has untied many of the complicated knots in multicomponent seismic recordings to 'straighten out' our understanding of vector motions. He has wrestled tenaciously with anisotropy and its resultant S-wave birefringence to help make it a useful property in describing fractured reservoir environments.
He has developed seismic processing flows and applied them to real cases from the Emilio Field in Italy through Ekofisk in the North Sea to Pinedale, Wyoming. It's sometimes said that a successful study will raise more questions than it solves. But, isn't this a little unsatisfying?
However, if we regard knowledge as contained in a sphere, while the unknown is outside the sphere and questions are the sphere's surface, then as knowledge expands, so do the questions. Fortunately, the sphere's volume expands faster than its surface, so we are making progress!
Jim has certainly enlarged our geophysical sphere. At a university, faculty are evaluated under broad terms relating to their contributions which can include teaching, graduate supervision, and research output. Jim has been an invaluable industry professional, handling a full load of programming and paid projects, but would fare very well under an academic review too. He has taught widely with SEG and Schlumberger's NeXT educational organization, supervised graduate students as summer interns, served the Denver Geophysical Society as president, undertaken responsibilities as a board member of university consortia, conducted leading research in borehole seismology and converted-wave analysis, and been exceptionally productive with many papers, presentations, abstracts, and patents.
Jim's legacy and devotion are well represented in many geophysical forms, but also in his cherished sons Benjamin and Jonathon who are working in computer science and graphics in California (he and Kathy make frequent visits). SEG's Life Membership Award to Jim honors his dedication to our science and Society. Jim Gaiser is, from turning-wave tomography to tight-turning snow boarding, truly in the Zone.
- 3C Seismic and VSP: Converted waves and vector wavefield applications published by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 2016.
- Listen to a Seismic Soundoff podcast interview with James Gaiser about his book 3C Seismic and VSP and the accompanying DISC tour of 2016. The podcast episode launched on 18 August 2016.
- Gaiser, James. 3C Seismic and VSP: Converted waves and vector wavefield applications. Eds. James Gaiser et al. Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1190/1.9781560803362
- Life Membership Award for James E. Gaiser, Robert Stewart, The Leading Edge, April 2008, Vol. 27, No. 4, p. 548. http://dx.doi.org/10.1190/tle27040538.1
- Whaley, J., 2017, Oil in the Heart of South America, https://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2017/10/oil-in-the-heart-of-south-america], accessed November 15, 2021.
- Wiens, F., 1995, Phanerozoic Tectonics and Sedimentation of The Chaco Basin, Paraguay. Its Hydrocarbon Potential: Geoconsultores, 2-27, accessed November 15, 2021; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281348744_Phanerozoic_tectonics_and_sedimentation_in_the_Chaco_Basin_of_Paraguay_with_comments_on_hydrocarbon_potential
- Alfredo, Carlos, and Clebsch Kuhn. “The Geological Evolution of the Paraguayan Chaco.” TTU DSpace Home. Texas Tech University, August 1, 1991. https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/9214?show=full.