Characteristics of Expert Behavior in Problem Solving and Workflow Strategy in Seimic Interpretation
Over the past fifty years, reflection seismology has become an integral tool for visualizing the Earth’s subsurface, and it is a key workforce skill in industries and academic pursuits that use this tool to image subsurface structures to locate resources, such as water, fossil fuels, and ores. Seismic data are often sparse and incomplete, making it necessary for geoscientists to make predictions and interpretations which are strongly influenced by experience, training and expertise. While the techniques and data quality in reflection seismology have been refined over the course of decades, the process of human interaction and successful problem solving approaches with seismic data remain poorly documented and understood. This study was designed to advance understanding of the interactions, strategies, and techniques graduate geoscientists employ in the process of 2D seismic interpretation. This qualitative study was designed to record pre-professional, experienced participants in order to develop insights into emerging expert behavior in this task. Videos of participants were coded for co-occurrences of features that were identified by participants, the markings participants made, the order of common features among participants, physical interaction with the images, and time use between the different exercises resources provided to participants during interpretation. Information was also collected with a background survey and through interviews in order to gain insight into participant's experience with seismic interpretation. This information was used to place participants into different levels of expertise. Our results show that the lowest expertise group uses a less holistic approach with the available resources and is more hesitant to use written observations during their exercise. The high and medium groups also employed strategies that the low group did not to help them asses the seismic data set. Additionally, we were able to show and categorize the common elements among participants' interpretations, and offer a method to capture workflow strategies. The insights from this study will help guide future research to probe the practice of seismic interpretation, with the hope to provide instructors with new teaching methods and help create software advancements. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the efficiency of training geoscientists in seismic interpretation.
AAPG Datapages/Search and Discovery Article #90323 ©2018 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 20-23, 2018