Seismic resolution

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Seismic resolution is a measure of minimum spatial or temporal separation between two reflection events so that they can yet still be distinguished and resolved seperately. Two types of resolution are considered — vertical and lateral, both of which are governed by the signal bandwidth.

The yardstick for vertical resolution is the dominant wavelength, which is controlled by wave velocity and the dominant frequency. It can be expressed as a fraction of the dominant wavelength depending on the resolution criterion considered (Rayleigh, Ricker, or Widess criteria). Deconvolution can be used to increase the vertical resolution by broadening the spectrum, thereby compressing the seismic wavelet.

On the other hand, the yardstick for lateral resolution is the Fresnel zone, a circular area on a reflector whose size depends on the depth to the reflector, the velocity above the reflector and the dominant frequency. Migration improves the lateral resolution by decreasing the width of the Fresnel zone, thus separating features that are blurred in the lateral direction.

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