Industry Article: A Decade of Tomography

Publication Date: 09/30/2008

Over the past 10 years, ray-based postmigration grid tomography has become the standard model-building tool for seismic depth imaging. While the basics of the method have remained unchanged since the late 1990s, the problems it solves have changed dramatically. This evolution has been driven by exploration demands and enabled by computer power. There are three main areas of change. First, standard model resolution has increased from a few thousand meters to a few hundred meters. This order of magnitude improvement may be attributed to both high-quality, complex residual-moveout data picked as densely as 25 mto 50 mvertically and horizontally, and to a strategy of working down from long-wavelength to short-wavelength solutions. Second, more and more seismic data sets are being acquired along multiple azimuths, for improved illumination and multiple suppression. High-resolution velocity tomography must solve for all azimuths simultaneously, to prevent short-wavelength velocity heterogeneity from being mistaken for azimuthal anisotropy. Third, there has been a shift from predominantly isotropic to predominantly anisotropic models, both VTI and TTI.With four-component data, anisotropic grid tomography can be used to build models that tie PZ and PS images in depth.

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