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The SEG-Y (sometimes SEG Y or SEGY) file format is one of several data standards developed by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) for the exchange of geophysical data. It is an open standard, and is controlled by the SEG Technical Standards Committee, a non-profit organization.

The format was originally developed in 1973 to store single-line seismic reflection digital data on magnetic tapes. The specification was published in 1975.[1]

The format and its name evolved from the SEG "Ex" or Exchange Tape Format.[1][2] However, since its release, there have been significant advancements in geophysical data acquisition, such as 3-dimensional seismic techniques and high speed, high capacity recording.

The most recent revision of the SEG-Y format was published in 2002, named the rev 1 specification.[3] It still features certain legacies of the original format (referred as rev 0), such as an optional SEG-Y tape label, the main 3200 byte textual file header and a 400 byte binary file header.

This image shows the byte stream structure of a SEG-Y file, and highlights the differences between Revisions 0, 1, and 2. (PDF version.)

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Most software programs do not totally follow the specification. For example, ODEC uses the opposite byte order and adds 320 bytes to the tail of each trace.[4]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Barry, K.M.; Cavers, D.A.; Kneale, C.W. (1975). "Recommended standards for digital tape formats". Geophysics 40 (2): 344–352. doi:10.1190/1.1440530.
  2. Northwood, E.J.; Weisinger, R.C. and Bradley, J.J. (1967). "Recommended standards for digital tape formats". Geophysics 32 (6): 1073–1084.
  3. Norris, M.W.; Faichney, A.K. (Eds.) (2002). SEG-Y rev1 Data Exchange format. Tulsa, OK: Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
  4. "SIOSEIS DISKIN Documentation". Paul Henkart.