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Geological Seismic Stratigraphy and Geophysical Seismic Stratigraphy--Two Disciplines or One?

Norman S. Neidell, John H. Beard, Marion V. Couvillion

Progress in the analysis of seismic data for stratigraphic information content historically has moved along two major, though apparently disjointed, paths. One avenue (largely geological) follows the lead of Peter Vail and his team in considering geometric patterns and implied global sea level changes to establish ages, environments, and lithology. The second direction (geophysical) uses control of seismic waveforms, computer processing methods, and seismic model studies to describe likely hydrocarbon traps in detail. Both approaches employ well information for calibration purposes.

A common perception is that geologic approaches define hydrocarbon-prone environments, whereas the conventional geophysical approaches try to confirm specific interpretations and prospects. The gap is moving from the larger picture to the drill site appears not to be a feature of either approach. Some "bridge" between these disciplines is needed to take full advantage of their respective technical developments.

Recent work on seismic visibility and the steps necessary to properly condition seismic data for stratigraphic study offer a natural link between the two approaches. Case studies demonstrate integration of the methods as well as the powerful insights that can be achieved. Both land and marine examples are considered from several diverse geologic and geographic provinces.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.