Marianne Rauch

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Marianne Rauch
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SEG Special Commendation 2020

Marianne Rauch is an accomplished geophysicist who has successfully applied new ideas in effective and viable ways in industry in a career spanning more than 30 years. She has a passion for the science of geophysics and is thrilled at its successful application. She is author or coauthor of more than 25 SEG papers, numerous presentations at SEG and other professional society meetings, and two continuing education courses. In the last few years, her papers have stood out for ways of utilizing 3D seismic technology effectively in unconventional resource development. Rauch represents the optimal geoscientist — merging the ability to detect new technologies with the ability to develop and implement practical applications that have enabled industry to solve the most challenging problems of the day. For her lifetime contribution to the industry and lifetime support of young generations of geophysicists through continuing education, Rauch is deserving of the SEG Special Commendation award for advancing the science of applied geophysics and enhancing the development of the geophysical community.

Biography Citation for the Special Commendation Award

by David Langton

I am honored to write the citation for such a deserving recipient for special recognition by SEG. Working with Marianne Rauch allowed me to observe the qualities being recognized here, such as professional leadership and contributions outside of mainstream geophysics. It is her intellectual curiosity and determination that has guided her career.

Marianne began her career after graduating from the prestigious Karl Franzens University in Graz, Austria, in 1985 with her PhD in physics. Having grown up in a small mountain village in Austria, she was ready to explore the world and moved to Perth, Australia, in 1988. Her first job was as a research assistant at Curtin University, but this was just a first step in her geophysical journey that spans more than three decades.

Marianne’s career has provided her with a broad set of experiences and exposed her to many facets of geophysical exploration. These include AVO analysis in the 1980s, common reflection imaging, diffraction imaging, hyperspectral data analysis, gravity and magnetics, and, of course, seismic imaging. What separates Marianne from most exploration geophysicists is her desire to leverage multiple geophysical disciplines to resolve limitations in either acquisition or processing. One great example of this was a project in the Delaware Basin where near-surface heterogeneity was causing significant issues in calculating refraction statics. To better understand the near surface, Marianne advocated for and received permission to acquire high-resolution electromagnetic data over the area and utilized simultaneous inversion to provide a detailed model of the shallow velocities. In addition, common reflection surface imaging, diffraction imaging, and depth imaging were implemented to further advance the subsurface picture.

One of her biggest passions is mentoring the younger generation of geophysicists and imparting in them a desire to think outside the box. The status quo is not something Marianne tolerates as she fundamentally believes there are always better ways to work and new insights to be revealed from geophysical data. She takes great pride in seeing the geophysicists she has mentored move on to successful positions in companies around the world. Passing on knowledge is not limited to the younger generation. Marianne has a passion for publishing results and has written numerous papers and made countless presentations at the annual meetings of SEG, URTeC, EAGE, and many local societies. To be a prolific author, a scientist needs to be looking continuously for opportunities to advance learnings and seek avenues of collaboration with industry and academia. In prosperous times, Marianne advocated for benchmarking projects to evaluate vendor technologies; in leaner times, she turned to existing relationships with consortia to advance research. Either way, the learnings kept coming, workflows improved, and papers were written.

Marianne Rauch has always seen the value in being an active member of geophysical societies. As mentioned, she authors and presents, but she is also quick to accept requests to chair conference sessions and review abstracts. Interacting with other geophysicists and scientists helps prevent academic isolation and a stagnation of workflows. Currently Marianne is vice chair of the SEG Gravity and Magnetics Committee, a member of the SEG Development and Production Committee, and first vice president of the Geophysical Society of Houston.