Kurt Marfurt is a Research Professor of Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma, where he mentors students and conducts research to aid seismic interpretation. Marfurt holds MS and PhD degrees in Applied Geophysics from Columbia University in the City of New York and an AB in Physics and French from Hamilton College.
Marfurtʼs experience includes 23 years as an academician, first at Columbia University, then later at the University of Houston and the University of Oklahoma (OU). His career also includes 18 years in technology development at Amoco’s Tulsa Research Center working on a wide range of topics including seismic modeling, seismic imaging, VSP analysis, signal analysis, magnetotellurics, basin analysis, seismic stratigraphy, and seismic attributes. At OU, Marfurt leads the Attribute-Assisted Seismic Processing and Interpretation (AASPI) consortium with the goal of developing and calibrating new seismic attributes to aid in seismic processing, seismic interpretation, and data integration using both interactive and machine learning tools. With colleagues, he has received several best paper and best presentation awards on seismic modeling, coherence, curvature, principal component analysis, and brittleness estimation. He is an honorary member of the SEG and in 2019 received the AAPG Robert R. Berg outstanding research award. Marfurt served as the 2006 EAGE/SEG and the 2018 SEG Distinguished Short Course Instructor. He has taught continuing education short courses for the SEG and AAPG since 2003. From 1984–2013, he has served as either an associate or assistant editor for Geophysics. In 2013 he joined the editorial board of the SEG/AAPG journal Interpretation where he served as the Editor-in-Chief for 2016–2018. He served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief for 2019–2021 for Interpretation and as an SEG Director-at-Large.
SEG Honorary Membership 2012 
Kurt Marfurt is recognized for significant advances in seismic interpretation, as reflected by 36 Geophysics papers (ten as first author) and 120 Annual Meeting presentations (nine as first author), in addition to his outstandingly relevant DISC and associated textbook, and his co-authorship of SEG’s foundational book on seismic attributes. Marfurt’s creative mind, leveraged through the energies of a legion of students, has gone a long way toward answering the question,“Well, now that we have 3D data, what do we do with it?” While many almost instinctively associate Kurt’s name with seismic attributes, the full-waveform inversion community recognizes Marfurt’s 1984 paper, showing the equivalence of wave-equation, frequency-domain solutions with time domain solutions, as the foundation for their speedier frequency-domain inversion algorithms. The following key words from Marfurt’s publications support the broad reach of that curiosity: texture, S-wave interpretation, coherence, curvature, sea-level curves, basement from aeromag, velocity anisotropy, time lapse, neural net inversion, coal-bed methane, azimuthal impedance, microseismic fracture, wavelet transform, spectral decomposition, spectral analysis, shallow volcanic, igneous intrusions, fracture lineaments, footprint removal, seismic modeling, karst delineation, phase unwrapping, and termite mounds!
Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership 2012
Kurt Marfurt has contributed generously to applied geophysics through his research work. His career is characterized by the development and deployment of data-driven algorithmic solutions to exploration problems ranging from seismic signal analysis, through seismic modeling and migration, to seismic attributes and interpretation. His day-to-day achievements over the last 35 years have advanced the state-of-the-art and have brought credit to our profession.
Kurt joined Amoco at Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981 and worked there for 18 enjoyable and productive years. The Amoco research facility was an excellent environment for research that helped Kurt implement new technology ideas on the available 3D seismic data and the latest computer hardware.
Amongst the many other important research contributions, Kurt’s work on seismic coherence and spectral decomposition is the most distinguished. After the introduction of coherence attribute in 1995 by Bahorich and Farmer, Kurt and his team followed this original cross-correlation algorithm for coherence computation and developed the semblance and eigen-decomposition algorithms, which provided superior clarity and lateral resolution. This work fetched him three of the five patents that he earned through Amoco.
After the Amoco research facility closed in 1999, Kurt joined the University of Houston, as Director of the Center for Applied Geosciences and Energy. Here, with the industry-sup ported consortium, he developed algorithms and workflows knowledge that he possesses and am continually inspired by the amount of technical work he gets accomplished. Kurt’s excellent communication skills, his lucid style, and the passion with which he presents his work have also seen him being invited for several keynote presentations.
Kurt’s contagious sense of humor, his motivating enthusiasm, his seeking and respecting the opinions of others, and also delegating authority and responsibility are some characteristic traits that endear him to his students and especially the people who have worked with him. All these years, Kurt may have chewed geophysics every day, but he definitely has had his darling wife of over 35 years, Stephanie Marfurt, in his heart. Stephanie has been a continuous support for Kurt as his good and understanding partner.
He is a richly deserving recipient of Honorary Membership. for 3D multicomponent processing and 3D seismic attribute analysis for characterization of fractures and karsts. In 2007, Kurt joined The University of Oklahoma where he is diversifying his research efforts into other areas, notably shale gas, testimony that his intellectual curiosity is always tuned to the new and challenging. Kurt has published and presented several dozen papers at various conventions/workshops and has received many awards, including the SEG outstanding presentation award in 1987, the award for the SEG Best Paper in Geophysics in 1998, and with co-authors the SEG best poster presentation award in 2008, SEG honorable mention for three posters in 2009, and the AAPG best paper award in 2010. He has furthered the advancement of our profession through his 18 years as an Assistant/Associate Editor for Geophysics, a position in which he continues to serve. He has twice been a TLE guest editor, co-editor of two books and co- author of two books, all published by SEG.
Kurt has been conducting the SEG short course on 3D seismic attributes since 2002; it is one of the most popular SEG courses in recent years. I had the good fortune of working with Kurt in putting together the book to go with his 2006 SEG DISC as well as the complete book on 3D seismic attributes published by SEG in 2007. I was impressed with the knowledge that he possesses and am continually inspired by the amount of technical work he gets accomplished. Kurt’s excellent communication skills, his lucid style, and the passion with which he presents his work have also seen him being invited for several keynote presentations.
Kurt’s contagious sense of humor, his motivating enthusiasm, his seeking and respecting the opinions of others, and also delegating authority and responsibility are some characteristic traits that endear him to his students and especially the people who have worked with him.
All these years, Kurt may have chewed geophysics every day, but he definitely has had his darling wife of over 35 years, Stephanie Marfurt, in his heart. Stephanie has been a continuous support for Kurt as his good and understanding partner. He is a richly deserving recipient of Honorary Membership.
SEG Best Paper in Geophysics 1998
Kurt J. Marfurt, Steven L. Farmer, Rodney Lynn Kirlin, and Michael S. Bahorich received the 1998 SEG Best Paper in Geophysics Award for their paper 3-D seismic attributes using a semblance-based coherency algorithm.
- Society of Exploration Geophysicists International Exposition and Eighty-Second Annual Meeting Honors & Awards Program 4:30 p.m., Sunday 4 November 2012 Mandalay Bay Convention Center Las Vegas, Nevada USA
- Marfurt, K. J., et. al. (1998), 3-D seismic attributes using a semblance-based coherency algorithm Geophysics, 63(4):1150.