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GCRecording Shear-Wave Previous HitDataNext Hit in P-Wave Seismic Programs*

 

Bob Hardage1

 

Search and Discovery Article #40701 (2011)

Posted February 21, 2011

 

*Adapted from the Geophysical Corner column, prepared by the author, in AAPG Explorer, February, 2011, and entitled “Riding the Waves: Getting S- When Getting P-”. Editor of Geophysical Corner is Bob A. Hardage ([email protected]). Managing Editor of AAPG Explorer is Vern Stefanic; Larry Nation is Communications Director.

 

1Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin ([email protected])

 

 

General Statement

 

For decades, seismic analysis of subsurface geology has been limited to information that can be extracted from compressional-wave (P-wave) seismic Previous HitdataNext Hit – but numerous geophysicists are now becoming aware of the advantages of combining shear-wave (S-wave) Previous HitdataNext Hit with P-wave Previous HitdataNext Hit. The advantage, simply stated, is this: A broader range of rock and fluid properties can be estimated than what can be estimated with P-wave Previous HitdataNext Hit alone. The purpose of this article is to explain that it may be easier and less costly than you think to acquire S-wave Previous HitdataNext Hit across onshore prospect areas when conventional P-wave seismic Previous HitdataNext Hit are being collected.

 

Figures

 

Copyright � AAPG. Serial rights given by author. For all other rights contact author directly.

 

General statement
Figures
P and SV wavefields
Previous HitExampleNext Hit

Conclusions



















General statement
Figures
P and SV wavefields
Previous HitExampleNext Hit
Conclusions



















General statement
Figures
P and SV wavefields
Previous HitExampleNext Hit
Conclusions



















General statement
Figures
P and SV wavefields
Previous HitExampleNext Hit
Conclusions



















General statement
Figures
P and SV wavefields
Previous HitExampleNext Hit
Conclusions




















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fig01

Figure 1. P-wave and SV-wave radiation patterns produced when a vertical impulse is applied to the Earth surface at source station S. These patterns define the relative strengths of the illuminating wavefields, not the geometrical shapes of the wavefields. For Previous HitexampleNext Hit, at take-off angle Φ, the strength of the downgoing P wavefield is A, and the strength of the SV wavefield is B. The quantity σ represents the Poisson’s ratio of the Earth half space.

fig02

Figure 2. VSP Previous HitdataNext Hit showing downgoing P and SV modes produced by a vertical vibrator. In this Previous HitexampleNext Hit, the vibrator was close to the vertical well in which the downhole geophones were deployed, which would be a near-vertical take-off angle such as β in Figure 1. Across the depth interval 3,000 to 5,000 feet, the velocity of the downgoing P wave is approximately 13,300 ft/s, and the velocity of the downgoing SV mode is approximately 8,000 ft/s. If long Previous HitdataNext Hit traces are recorded, there is the potential to construct four images (P-P, P-SV, SV-SV, SV-P), where the first term defines the downgoing wavefield and the second term identifies the upgoing wavefield.

 

P and SV Wavefields

 

Seismic sources used to acquire P-wave Previous HitdataNext Hit across land-based prospects always apply a vertical force vector to the Earth. This statement is true for vibrators (the most common land-based P-wave source), explosives in shot holes and the various types of weight droppers and thumpers that have been utilized to acquire P-wave Previous HitdataNext Hit over the years.

 

When a vertical impulse is applied to the Earth, two types of wavefields radiate away from the impact point – a P wavefield, and an SV (vertical shear) wavefield. (A minor amount of SH – horizontal shear – energy also radiates away from the application point of a vertical impact, but this S-wave mode is weak and will not be considered in this discussion.) Two examples of the relative energy that is distributed between a downgoing P wavefield and a downgoing SV wavefield produced as the result of a vertical impulse are illustrated on Figure 1. These P and SV radiation patterns correspond to different values of Poisson’s ratio for the Earth medium where the vertical impulse is applied.

 

A surprising principle to many people, including geophysicists, is that although a vertical-impact source is considered to be a P-wave source, the SV wavefield produced by such a source is often more robust than is its companion P wavefield.

 

For Previous HitexampleNext Hit, to determine the relative strengths of the downgoing P and SV wavefields at any take-off angle from the source station, one has to only draw a raypath, such as dash-line SAB on Figure 1, oriented at take-off angle Φ. The points where this line intersects the P and SV radiation pattern boundaries define the relative strengths of the P and SV modes in that illumination direction. For take-off angle Φ in this Previous HitexampleNext Hit, the strength (B) of the SV mode is larger than the strength (A) of the P mode.

 

Previous HitExampleNext Hit

 

A real-Previous HitdataNext Hit Previous HitexampleNext Hit that illustrates this physics is displayed as Figure 2. This Previous HitexampleNext Hit is a vertical seismic profile (VSP), which is one of the best measurements that can be made to understand seismic wave-propagation physics.

 

Here, both a downgoing P wave and a downgoing SV wave are produced by the vertical vibrator that was used as the energy source. Either wave mode, P or SV, can be used to image geology. Both modes are embedded in the Previous HitdataNext Hit, but people tend to utilize only the P-wave mode.

 

Conclusions

 

How can we begin to take advantage of the SV-wave Previous HitdataNext Hit that conventional land-based P-wave seismic sources produce? Only two alterations have to be made in conventional seismic Previous HitfieldNext Hit practice:

 

Deploy three-component geophones rather than single-component geophones.

 

Lengthen the Previous HitdataNext Hit traces to ensure that SV reflections produced by the downgoing SV wavefield are recorded. Because SV velocity is less than P-wave velocity by a factor of two or more, SV Previous HitdataNext Hit traces need to be at least twice as long as the traces used to define P-wave Previous HitdataNext Hit.

 

These alterations can be done with minimal cost, and the potential benefits of acquiring two S-waves (P-SV or converted shear, and SV-SV or direct shear) rather than just P-wave Previous HitdataNext Hit can be immense. Our profession needs to utilize longer Previous HitdataNext Hit traces when acquiring all landbased seismic Previous HitdataTop.

 

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