Kansas Geological Survey

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Kansas Geological Survey
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The Kansas Geological Survey is being honored with SEG’s Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of the outstanding contributions of its Exploration Services Division to the international geophysical community through the advancement of near-surface seismic methods.

Citation for the SEG Distinguished Achievement Award

Contributed by James A. Hunter and Susan E. Pullan

In the late 1970s, a major North American research group in nearsurface geophysics was developed at the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS), in Lawrence, Kansas. That group, currently called the Exploration Services Division, established its direction of research under its former leader Dr. Don W. Steeples, and continues today under the direction of Richard D. Miller. It has been active during a time when near-surface geophysics has come to play a more prominent and important role in applied geophysics. Throughout the world, problems of geohazards and the environment are becoming critical issues, and the search for groundwater resources is of increasing importance. To aid in these emerging concerns, the KGS group has been developing, modifying, and adapting geophysical techniques to address near-surface targets requiring higher spatial resolution.

Specific technical contributions by this group include:

  • Development of CMP seismic profiling methods for shallow applications. The KGS group was one of the first to begin testing the application of high-frequency reflection common-midpoint (CMP) methods for shallow targets. For more than two decades now, they have been recognized internationally as leaders in shallow seismic reflection applications and research. They have tirelessly advocated and educated others on the potential and pitfalls of the shallow seismic reflection technique through many conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications, and short courses presented in North and South America, Europe and Australia. Since the early 1980s, they have carried out research projects across the United States and overseas.
  • Development, advancement, and maintenance of PCbased software. While developing high-resolution CMP techniques, it was quickly recognized that lack of access to seismic processing software was a major drawback to widespread application of these methods. The KGS group initially adapted mainframe processing software for the small personal computer environment (Eavesdropper) and made it available at low cost. Over the years, the KGS group has continuously upgraded and enhanced the package (WinSeis) and is now developing new software for MASW applications (SurfSeis). This work provides processing tools at a reasonable cost and has opened up the methodology to small operators/consultants around the world.
  • Sources and shallow seismic source tests. High-frequency seismic sources are critical to the success of shallow reflection projects. The KGS group has both developed specialized seismic sources (e.g., 50-caliber shotgun source), and taken the lead in designing and conducting a series of comprehensive shallow seismic source tests. The test results are published in GEOPHYSICS and have provided an invaluable guide on source characteristics for shallow seismic practitioners worldwide.
  • Development of the MASW (multichannel analysis of surface waves) technique. Recently, KGS has developed new surface wave technology (MASW) using multichannel high-resolution seismic equipment. Dr. Choon Park and Dr. Manghai Yja developed this unique approach, and the corresponding PC-based processing software that yields detailed shear-wave velocity information in near-surface soils. MASW provides a new tool for applications such as earthquake hazards, seabottom sediment properties and other near-surface geotechnical investigations.

Without question, the Exploration Services Division of the Kansas Geological Survey has made outstanding contributions to the near-surface geophysical community by adapting and developing seismic methodology for near-surface applications, and in educating and training many others around the world in this methodology, In addition, KGS researchers have been long-term supporters of, and active participants in, SEG, culminating with the creation and development of the NearSurface Geophysics Section (NSG). We congratulate the Exploration Services Division of the Kansas Geological Survey on this well-deserved recognition of their continuing achievements in the field of near-surface geophysics.