--> ABSTRACT: Future-Seismic. How Tomorrow’s Geophysicists Can Be Restricted by Today’s Hardware, by Heath, Robert G.; Giles, John; #90141 (2012)

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Future-Seismic. How Tomorrow’s Geophysicists Can Be Restricted by Today’s Hardware

Heath, Robert G.*1; Giles, John 2
(1) iSeis Co, Middlesex, United Kingdom. (2) Seismic Source Co, Ponca City, OK.


The field of geophysics has never been more dynamic. New ideas are emerging more regularly than ever before in such areas as simultaneous source acquisition, ultra-large channel counts and passive/permanent monitoring.

However, little thought appears to have been given to how hardware copes with all these novel approaches. Taking on new techniques in this industry is limited by what instrumentation lets us do. Just as when this industry struggled to go from 2D to viable 3D land acquisition decades ago, the imaginative geophysicists who tend to be the first to try out new techniques are the ones most likely to be caught out expensively in discovering inherent hardware limitations.


Geophysicists and systems designers talk to each other far less than is commonly assumed. This is what results in limited instrumentation. This paper reviews the generic restrictions of some essential pieces of hardware, possibly designed at times when such new techniques were not being discussed, and suggests how improvements can be made.


Starting with recording instruments, we investigate industry moves toward cableless systems to demonstrate how new methods of acquisition can be met not only by a change in recording instrument and technique, but also by a better understanding by survey planners of what is possible with any system type. It also considers what types of hardware also have the flexibility to take on the much greater challenges of passive recording and permanent monitoring.

We also look at source controllers. Some modern crews involve large numbers of vibrators and increasingly projects need many types of source on the same crew. This is creating new issues in terms of safety, tracking, communications and quality control, which are only now just beginning to be solved. This is of particular importance to Middle East where radio licencing is traditionally problematic.

Significance of subject matter.:

Even some of the most experienced geophysicists tend not to be expert on recording instrumentation. The assumption is often made that equipment which has performed well in more traditional operations will also work well as its limits are pushed. The significance of this paper is that it attempts generally to indicate where older technologies may not be suited to newer practices, and thus intends to show how progress in this field to the ideal of “future-seismic” can be improved by a better understanding of modern equipment.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90141©2012, GEO-2012, 10th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition, 4-7 March 2012, Manama, Bahrain