Journal GSH

The Epicenter of
Geophysical Excellence
November 2014
3D Image Processing for Interpretation
With David Hale - Page 7
A Conversation With Peter Vail - Page 23
Integration of Rock Physics and Seismic
Interpretation in West Africa - Page 11
Northside TopGolf Social - Page 9
Tennis Tournament - Page 17
Webinar: Understanding Seismic Anisotropy
in Exploration and Exploitation with Leon Thomsen - Page 9
Volume 5 • Number 3
Kirchhoff: No Q Compensation
Kirchhoff: With Q Compensation
WEM: With Q Compensation
VTI or TTI Anisotropy and Attenuation Compensation During PSDM
Q Model From Tomography
Visco Acoustic Imaging
Using Q tomography and depth migration, as the Q compensation platform, has the
benefit that complex 3D wavefield attenuation can be automatically accounted for:
• Improving resolution, and amplitude balance
• Correcting the phase distortion, and allowing for better positioning of the reservoir
Tel: +1 281 509 8000
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
SEG/AAPG Distinguished Lecturer:
3D Seismic Image Processing for
Interpretation of Faults and Horizons
Speaker: David Hale, Center for Wave
Phenomena, Colorado School of Mines
Technical Breakfasts Detecting Small Scale Heterogeneities
Through the Application of MultiFocusing
2D and 3D Diffraction Imaging Using
Pre-existing Seismic Data
Speaker: M
arianne Rauch-Davies, Geomage
GSH Live Webinar
November 10-13, 2014
Technical Article
• • • F E AT U R E S • • •
Integration of Rock Physics and Seismic
Interpretation – An Overlooked West African
Stratigraphic Hydrocarbon Play
By Ken MacAllister, Tim Daley, Bowleven PLC;
Mike Bacon, Ikon Science; Simon Tamfu,
Ponce Nguema, Societe Nationale des
Hydrocarbures (SNH)
A Conversation With...
Peter Vail
Doodlebugger Diary
Aliasing in F-K Space
By Mike Graul
By Lee Lawyer
Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
By Lee Lawyer
TopGolf Social
November 6th, 2014
Tennis Tournament
November 21, 2014
Wavelets 28|
Underwater Exploration:
New UH Sonar and Seismic Capabilities
GSH Made its Debut at URTeC November 2014
A Word From the Board
Welcome New Members
Corporate Sponsors
Annual Post Office Statement
Mystery Item
Corporate Members
Geoscience Center News
Calendar of Events
Tutorial Nuggets
Organization Contacts
Technical Luncheons & Dinner
Technical Events
By Robert R. Stewart,
First Vice President
Do You Know What This Is?!
Spouses' Auxiliary
On The
A Global
vibrator at work. Photo courtesy
of Global
Geophysical. E D I TO R ’ S N OT E
••• MEETINGS •••
TA B L E o f C O N T E N T S
To ensure your information reaches the
GSH members in a timely manner, please
note the following deadlines and plan
accordingly. Please submit your articles and
any questions to Tommie Rape, editor, at
[email protected]
Jan 2015 ......................................... November 5
Feb 2015......................................... December 3
Mar 2015.............................................January 5
© The Geophysical Society of Houston retains all rights and privileges to the
content hereof. No reproduction or usage of content is allowed without express
written permission of The Geophysical Society of Houston.
Geophysical Society of Houston
Karen Blakeman, Office Director • Kathy Sanvido, Webmaster/Membership Manager
14811 St. Mary’s Lane, Suite 204, Houston, TX 77079 • Office Hours 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: (281) 741-1624 • Email: [email protected] • Website:
GSH Board of Directors = GSH Executive Committee + SEG Section Representatives
PRESIDENT______________________________ Paul Schatz_______________713-975-7434_____713-829-5254_____
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Historian____________________________ Art Ross____________________________________281-360-9331_____
Office_______________________________ Dave Agarwal_____________281-920-4450_______________________
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Scholarship Liaison___________________ Jim Schuelke______________713-296-6801_______________________
Continuing Education_________________ Mike Graul________________713-465-3181_______________________
Webinar_________________________ Farshid Forouhideh________281-781-1178_______________________
PAST PRESIDENT _______________________ Tad Smith________________713-296-6251_____832-474-7825_____
PRIOR PAST PRESIDENT ______________ Scott Singleton____________713-273-1426_____832-524-8382_____
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PRESIDENT ELECT_______________________ Glenn Bear_______________281-624-9950_____281-250-4013_____ [email protected]
GSH/SEG Membership_______________ Glenn Bear_______________281-624-9950_____281-250-4013_____ [email protected]
Volunteer Coordinator________________ Nicola Maitland____________713-972-6209_____281-507-6552 _____ [email protected]
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT __________________ Robert Stewart____________713-491-4823_____832-244-1893_____
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT ELECT ________ Sofia Campbell______________________________713-668-5406_____
Tech Breakfasts Westside______________ Glenn Bear_______________281-654-5070_______________________
Tech Breakfasts Northside_____________ Glenn Bear_______________281-654-5070_______________________
Tech Luncheons & Dinner_____________ Rob Stewart______________713-491-4823_____832-244-1893_____
Spring Symposium___________________ Rob Stewart______________713-491-4823_____832-244-1893_____
DISC_______________________________ Rob Stewart______________713-491-4823_____832-244-1893_____
Geoscience Day______________________ Haynie Stringer____________281-491-2045_____832-606-3993 _____
OTC Rep.___________________________ Roy Clark_________________281-723-8672_______________________
Data Processing and Acquisition________ Clement Kostov___________713-689-5752_____832-506-6026_____
Next Generation Geoscience Computing_ Abhijeet Narvekar____________________________281-630-4503_____
Potential Fields_______________________ Stephen Erck______________281-497-1526_____281-433-0614_____
Rock Physics________________________ Isabel Varela______________281-687-6692_______________________
Microseismic_________________________ Gary Jones_______________832-679-7104_____281-924-2210_____
SEG Wavelets________________________ Oyintari Aboro______________________________314-685 4391 _____
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT _______________ Liza Yellott________________713.881.2894_____713.204.0998 ____
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT ELECT _____ Carmen Comis____________713-393-4833_____832-282-9975_____
Sporting Clays_______________________ Dietrich Landis____________281-275-7748_____713-824-7633_____
Icebreaker - West_____________________ Malleswar Yenugu__________713-914-0300 _____281-687-8984_____
Icebreaker - North____________________ Tony LaPierre_____________713-482-3845_____281-733-5281_____
Salt Water Fishing Tournament_________ Bobby Perez______________281-240-1234_____281-787-2106_____
Social at TopGolf - North______________ Yoryenys Del Moro_________281-943-1729_______________________
Social at TopGolf - West_______________ Duane Pankhurst__________713-864-7700 _____713-444-7177_____
Tennis Tournament___________________ Russell Jones______________832-295-8350_______________________
Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet_____ Katherine Pittman_________713-972-6206_______________________
Golf Tournament_____________________ Dennis Sump_______________________________281-658-7433_____
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EDITOR_________________________________ Tommie Rape_______________________________713-829-5480_____
Assistant Editor______________________ Marianne Rauch-Davies_______________________832-641-2377_____
Assistant Editor______________________ David Watts_______________713-689-6040_______________________
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SEG SECTION REPRESENTATIVES________ Paul Schatz_______________713-975-7434_____713-829-5254_____
____________________________________ Tad Smith________________713-296-6251_____832-474-7825_____
____________________________________ Scott Singleton____________713-273-1426_____832-524-8382_____
____________________________________ Glenn Bear_______________281-624-9950_____281-250-4013_____
____________________________________ Lee Lawyer_______________281-531-5347_______________________
____________________________________ Lisa Buckner______________713-496-4256_____713-252-9665_____
SEG ALTERNATE REPS______________________ Bill Gafford_________281-370-3264_______________________
__________________________________________ Marianne Rauch-Davies ________________832-641-2377_____
__________________________________________ Haynie Stringer_____281-491-2045_____832-606-3993 _____
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Geoscience Center / Museum__________ Bill Gafford_________________________________281-370-3264_____ [email protected]
SPG-NA Rep.________________________ Dave Agarwal_______________________________281-920-4450_____ [email protected]
ECH Liaison_________________________ Bill Gafford_______________281-370-3264_______________________ [email protected]
HPAC______________________________ Donna Parrish, HPAC _______________________281-859-8088_____ [email protected]
Back to Index
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
A Word from the Board
Haven’t we? Robert R. Stewart, First Vice President
“Man is by nature a social animal” is attributed to one of the
earliest geoscientists, Aristotle, in his book Politics written
around 330 BCE. More recently, in 1973, then President
of the American Geophysical Union, P. Abelson, offered
that, “The primary function of scientific societies is to
facilitate communication among their members.” A little
more broadly, the Society of Exploration Geophysicist’s
mission is to inspire, connect, and propel the people and
science of geophysics. Likewise, our own Geophysical
Society of Houston (GSH) is formed to promote the
science and profession of geophysics, and to foster
fellowship and cooperation among all persons interested
in geophysics. So, our professional societies – and to a
large degree society as a whole - are fundamentally about
members communicating with each other.
If much of our professional effort is in communicating,
we might ask what’s new in the last few thousand years?
What’s remained the same? In our professional world,
we generally engage and communicate through mail,
meetings, and publications. Our GSH meetings, for
example, are in various sizes from Technical Breakfasts
to the Annual Spring Symposium (upcoming on March
10-11, 2015). Our publications include the written
Journal and shorter notices. These are similar in structure
to those, say, in Athens several millennia ago. What’s
changed? Well, clearly the technology of delivery as
well as the content. Even new words are being invented
to cover novel methods and applications: “Selfie” (a
hand-held cell phone picture of oneself) was an Oxford
English Dictionary’s 2013 addition and word of the year;
Merriam-Webster added “fracking” (with a “k”), a short
form of hydraulic fracturing of impermeable rock, to its
dictionary in 2014.
The delivery method for talks in our technical meetings
changed rapidly around the year 2000. Presenters had
been using transparencies, slides, and blackboards for
decades. Then along came cheaper and more reliable
PCs, computer projectors, and PowerPoint (released
by Microsoft in 1990). In the late 1990s, we were
debating the use of “computer presentations” at Annual
Geophysical Meetings; by the early 2000s, only computer
presentations were allowed! Digital photography has also
had an enormous impact on our presentations, reports,
and articles. Eastman Kodak produced the first electronic
camera in 1975 which gave rise to the digital photography
revolution (and decimated Kodak’s film sales). This,
in turn, has broadened into smartphone photos (and
selfies) and many millions of useful technical images.
PowerPoint (PPT), along with digital photography, has
been enormously useful in communicating material.
While some PPT presentations, especially those with
text only, can be stultifyingly dull, the advantages of
easily exchanged material, widespread knowledge of
November 2014
PPT use, and broad audio-video
capabilities make PowerPoint and its
complements profound contributors
to communication.
Interacting with the GSH itself has
also undergone major change largely via the website – as it has with
most organizations. Our website is a
repository of geophysical information
Robert R.
and GSH events. We’re deeply
appreciative of the efforts of our office
First Vice
staff, Karen Blakeman and Kathy
Sanvido, as well as Board members
Tommie Rape and Liza Yellott and others who have
been energetic in their efforts at keeping us updated. We
currently have about 150 visits per day on the website,
but plan to increase that substantially in terms of numbers
and depth in the next several months. The SEG’s
website has some 2500 visits per day, which we would
expect from an organization correspondingly larger and
with a full-time IT department. Other digital facilities
have become part of many conveyances: LinkedIn for
resumés and interest groups; Facebook for personal
activities and invitations; Twitter for quick quips;
and a panoply of others supporting everything from
conversations to videos. The GSH is valiantly attempting
to stay digitally current as undoubtedly are most of
our members. One area of major impetus is our
Webinars. These interactive, web-delivered seminars can
conveniently bring some of our best instructors to a world
of participants. There are many forms of outreach and
education, but under the tutelage of Mike Graul, Farshid
Forouhideh, and avid supporters, our on-line courses
have been flourishing.
Communication in Geophysics: My, how we’ve changed.
Marshall McLuhan, in his pivotal book, Understanding
Media: The Extensions of Man, stated that, “The
medium is the message.” Part of this assertion is that
any new communication technology will define a new
form, scale, pace, or pattern of human association.
And it is this new relationship that is ultimately a key
deliverable or message. Smartphones and the internet
are certainly changing our relationships and probably
our psychology – being able (or needing) to be constantly
connected to a very wide world. I’d guess when life-sized
screens (and smartwatches) are inexpensive, located
everywhere, and rapidly networked, we’ll see another
major communication jump.
At the GSH, we will continue to experiment with new
media to enhance our members’ experience as well as
refine our traditional activities. So, the elements and
noble goals of our professional communication remain
steady, but the methods are certainly different.
Geophysical Society of Houston
Back to Index
Detecting Small Scale Heterogeneities
Through the Application of MultiFocusing 2D
and 3D Diffraction Imaging Using Pre-existing
Seismic Data
Speaker: M
arianne Rauch-Davies, Geomage
Thursday 6-November-2014
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Location: Apache Corporation
2000 Post Oak Blvd., #100
Houston, TX 77056
Sponsored by CGG
Wednesday 12-November-2014
7:30 AM to 8:30 AM
Location: C
10300 Town Park Drive
Houston, TX 77072
SEG/AAPG Distinguished Lecturer: 3D
Seismic Image Processing for Interpretation
of Faults and Horizons
Speaker: D
avid Hale
Colorado School of Mines
Westside Lunch
Tuesday 18-November-2014
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Location: Norris Conference Centers
Red Oak Ballroom
Houston City Center
816 Town and Country Blvd.
Houston, TX 77024
Tuesday 18-November-2014
5:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: Grotto
9595 Six Pines
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Downtown Lunch
Wednesday 19-November-2014
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Location: The Petroleum Club of Houston
800 Bell Street, 43rd Floor
Houston, TX 77002
Back to Index
• Po t n t l F l d s S I G •
Westside Breakfast
• DP&A SIG •
Sponsored by Anadarko and Lumina
Tuesday 4-November-2014
7:30 AM to 8:30 AM
Location: Anadarko Petroleum
1201 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380
• next gen SIG •
Northside Breakfast
Northside Dinner
• micro SIG •
• • • t e ch B R E A K FA S T S L U N C H E S & D I N N E R • • •
Technical Events
Thursday 13-November-2014
5:15 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: Halliburton / Landmark
Landmark Training Facility
10200 Bellaire Boulevard
Houston, TX 77072-5206
Thursday 20-November-2014
5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Location: HESS Club (Houston Engineering &
Scientific Society)
5430 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77056
Tuesday 25-November-2014
4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Location: Schlumberger
10001 Richmond Avenue
Houston, TX 77042
Member News
Have you changed jobs lately or received a special
award? Have you been elected or appointed to a
leadership position in a national organization? Are
you retiring or moving to another city? As another
benefit to our members, the GSH will post this
information on the GSH website and in the Journal.
So send a short one or two sentence blurb on your
business achievement/award/job change to Kathy
Sanvido ([email protected]) at the GSH office. You
can also check out the Member News on our website
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
Technical Luncheons & Dinner
Speaker: D
avid Hale, Center for Wave Phenomena
Colorado School of Mines
Session 2 (Northside Dinner)
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Sponsored by MicroSeismic
David Hale
Colorado School
of Mines
Location: G
9595 Six Pines
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Session 1 (Westside)
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
11:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Session 3 (Downtown)
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
11:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Location: N
orris Conference Centers
Red Oak Ballroom
Houston City Center
816 Town and Country Blvd.
Houston, TX 77024
Location: T
he Petroleum Club of Houston
800 Bell Street, 43rd Floor
Houston, TX 77002
Fault surfaces are an important aspect of subsurface
geology that we can extract from 3D seismic images.
Estimates of fault slips are important as well, as they
enable correlation across faults of subsurface properties.
Moreover, with estimated fault slips, we can undo
faulting apparent in 3D seismic images. After unfaulting,
seismic reflections should be more continuous across
faults, and this increased continuity facilitates unfolding
of 3D seismic images so that reflectors are horizontal.
The composite process of unfaulting and unfolding is
equivalent to the construction of an entire 3D volume of
chronostratigraphic horizons.
Although all of this image processing can be performed
automatically, limitations inherit in seismic imaging and
computing systems suggest that human interaction will
continue to be desirable. But this interaction can be
enhanced. For example, instead of picking or tracking
horizons one at a time, we might interactively select
scattered sets of points in a 3D seismic image that
correspond to multiple horizons, while automatically
updating a complete 3D horizon volume to honor those
interpreted constraints.
This semi-automatic 3D interpretation of faults and
horizons overcomes a fundamental limitation of the
human visual system, that we can see simultaneously
only a few 2D seismic sections and horizon surfaces.
Computer programs do not suffer from this limitation.
A 3D image is stored and manipulated in computer
memory much like a 2D image. So as we interactively
select points on 2D sections, our software can update
consistently a complete 3D interpretation.
Another advantage of semi-automatic 3D interpretation
is that our software may be less biased than a human
interpreter. In geophysical exploration, we often see what
we expect to see, and are simply trying to determine
where it is or how it has changed. But we can be surprised,
especially when using software that does not share our
expectations. For example, the software that I developed
to extract fault surfaces from 3D seismic images one
day surprised me by creating surfaces that have conical
shapes. Although conical faults were unexpected (by me)
and seem to be rare, they are clearly apparent in 3D
seismic images displayed in cylindrical coordinates; and
they raise interesting geologic questions that we might
never have asked, had we required faults to have more
familiar shapes.
SEG/AAPG Distinguished Lecturer:
3D Seismic Image Processing for
Interpretation of Faults and Horizons
Dave Hale received a BS in physics from Texas A&M
University in 1977 and a PhD in geophysics from Stanford
University in 1983. He has worked as a field seismologist
and research geophysicist for Western Geophysical,
as a senior research geophysicist for Chevron, as an
associate professor at the Colorado School of Mines,
as a chief geophysicist and software developer for
Advance Geophysical, and as a senior research fellow
for Landmark Graphics. In 2005, he returned to Mines
as the C.H. Green Professor of Exploration Geophysics,
Technical Luncheons/Dinner continued on page 8.
November 2014
Geophysical Society of Houston
Back to Index
Technical Breakfasts
Detecting Small Scale Heterogeneities
Through the Application of MultiFocusing
2D and 3D Diffraction Imaging Using
Pre-existing Seismic Data
Speaker: M
arianne Rauch-Davies, Geomage
Marianne Rauch-Davies
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Presentation 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Presentation 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Sponsored by Anadarko and Lumina
Sponsored by CGG
Location: A
nadarko Petroleum
1201 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Location: CGG
10300 Town Park Drive
Houston, TX 77072
The imaging method is based on the MultiFocusing
move-out time correction, which adequately describes
not only reflection but also diffraction events. Optimal
summation of the diffracted events and attenuation of
the specular reflections allows creating an image that
contains mostly diffraction energy. We briefly describe
the theory of the MultiFocusing method and demonstrate
the efficiency of this technique on case studies from
different parts of the world.
Diffraction imaging has become an attribute that’s
being used to map naturally occurring fractures in
unconventional reservoirs. However, diffractions are
generated whenever the wave encounters an irregularity
that’s of detectable size. As such, the diffractivity attribute
should not be restricted to fracture detection but can be
used to map caves (karst), base and shape of salt features,
small off-set faults and possibly separating leaking faults
from un-breached reservoir spaces.
The extraction of the diffractive part of the wave-field
is challenging due to the small magnitude of the event
and the noise in the seismic data. The diffracted wave
amplitudes are much weaker than those of specular
reflections. Diffractions are essentially lost during the
conventional processing/migration sequence, or they
are masked in conventional seismic stacked sections. Local structural and lithological elements in the
subsurface of a size comparable to the wavelength
are usually ignored during processing and indirectly
identified only during interpretation and not through
direct measurements.
Dr. Marianne Rauch-Davies is an expert in the field of
geosciences. Marianne's experience stems from her more
than 25 years of working with leading service, technology
and operating companies in the oil and gas industry. Her
main area of expertise lies in reservoir modeling and QI
interpretation. Marianne currently serves as Geomage's
VP of Applied Technologies, focusing on business
development and managing the practical implementation
of Geomage technologies within its geoscience projects. Marianne holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Karl Franzens
Universitaet, Graz, Austria.
Technical Luncheons & Dinner continued from page 7.
and now teaches geophysics and computer science and
hangs out with the Mines swimming and diving team.
Dave received the Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal from
the Society of Exploration Geophysics for his work
on dip-moveout processing of seismic data. He also
received SEG's awards for Best Paper in Geophysics
Back to Index
in 1992 (imaging salt with seismic turning waves) and
Best Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting in 2002
(atomic meshing of seismic images). He taught SEG's
first course in dip-moveout processing as part of the
Continuing Education program, and was editor of
DMO Processing, volume 16 of the SEG Geophysics
reprint series.
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
GSH TopGolf Social
November 6th, 2014
560 Spring Park Center Blvd., Spring, TX 77373
4:30pm - 6:30pm: Networking at Signature Room (2nd floor)
Be a Sponsor!
Sponsorship opportunities are available from $500 to $3,000.
Build your brand recognition by supporting the GSH!
6:30pm - 8:30 Open Play
Deadline Nov 1st 2014
Sponsorship Contact
Alfredo Fernandez
[email protected]
GSH Event Contact
Event Chair
Karen Blakeman
Yoryenys Del Moro
[email protected] [email protected]
A Live Webinar presented by
the Geophysical Society of Houston
Understanding Seismic Anisotropy
in Exploration and Exploitation
Featuring Dr. Leon Thomsen
All rock masses are seismically anisotropic, but we often ignore this in our seismic acquisition, processing, and
interpretation. The anisotropy nonetheless does affect our data in ways that limit the effectiveness with which we can use
it, if we ignore it. In this short course we will understand why we have been successful with our past seismic data despite
it. We will further understand how we can modify our practice so as to more fully realize the potential inherent in our data,
through algorithms which recognize the fact of seismic anisotropy. The course is accompanied by numerous class exercises,
presented in Excel (.xls) format.
November 10, 11, 12 & 13
4 hours per day 8:00 AM - 12:00 Noon Central Time (USA)
Individual, Group, and Student pricing options are available
For Information and Registration, visit
November 2014
Geophysical Society of Houston
Back to Index
Avalon 3D Seismic Survey
A new state-of-the-art multi-client solution
in the prolific Delaware Basin
Located in one of North America’s most prolific basins, the newly acquired
282 square mile high-end 3D seismic survey offers four hundred fold
broadband data. Setting a new standard, Avalon will allow better imaging to
address the noise and statics challenges in the area.
Targeting the Bone Springs, Wolfcamp and Cline formations, the complete
solution ties the geophysical data to the geology enabling enhanced sweet
spot detection and improved hazard avoidance for optimal well placement.
The project uses a multi-disciplinary approach comprising advanced imaging,
reservoir characterization and microseismic monitoring.
Contact: Rick Trevino
+1 832 351 1051
[email protected]
Cheryl Oxsheer
+1 832 351 8463
[email protected]
Enhance your return on investment today with this unique solution.
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
By Ken MacAllister, Tim Daley, Bowleven PLC; Mike Bacon, Ikon Science;
Simon Tamfu, Ponce Nguema, Societe Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH)
Hydrocarbon identification within class 1 AVO reservoirs
has tended to be problematic using conventional
petroacoustic analyses due to the dominance of the hard
rock matrix, leaving poor differentiation of fluids from
elastic parameters. Additionally, good quality long offset
seismic data is a pre-requisite for any attempt at fluid and
lithology discrimination.
The challenge required in this study is to de-risk a
previously overlooked stratigraphic play, dominated
by class 1 AVO behavior, constrained by limited offset
seismic, but embellished by a recent well with high quality
comprehensive wireline logs.
Figure 1: Location of Etinde permit (orange polygon).
Integration of petroacoustic modeling with conventional
interpretation, frequency and amplitude seismic
attributes, and seismic co-rendering has revealed an
extensive new stratigraphic play offshore Cameroon.
Rock physics results from the recent well IM-5 have
been compared with other drilled reservoirs in the region
to calibrate different seismic attribute responses across
the newly defined Intra Isongo reservoir fairway. This has
led to development of a qualitative predictive model with
respect to thickness, porosity, and net to gross.
drilling exploration/appraisal well IM-5. The primary
objective was appraisal of the four-way dip-closed Middle
Isongo reservoir, proven to be hydrocarbon bearing by
Mobil well IM-3 in 1975. Analysis of rock physics from
the limited modern well stock in the area had illustrated
that reservoir sands were expected to be relatively hard
and behave in a similar petroacoustic manner to the
volcaniclastic sediments in the area. They exhibit class
1 AVO response in all fluid cases, as confirmed by the
modeling of the IM-5 well (Figure 2).
Integration of Rock Physics and Seismic
Interpretation – An Overlooked West African
Stratigraphic Hydrocarbon Play
Recognition and delineation of the play is presented here
with a set of geophysical guidelines to aid exploration in
similar petroacoustic provenances.
The Etinde permit, located in the Cameroon sector of
the Gulf of Guinea, is situated at the northern end of
a string of West African coastal basins extending some
2000 kms to the south (Figure 1).
A significant geological feature which splits the Etinde
permit into two basins, the Rio del Rey Basin and the
Douala (and southern) Basins is the Cameroon Volcanic
Line (CVL). Several hydrocarbon discoveries have been
made since the 1960’s in the Rio del Rey Basin. All
were drilled on structural highs and targeted the Miocene
Upper and Middle Isongo reservoirs.
Early in 2013, Etinde operator Bowleven opened up a new
West African stratigraphically-controlled hydrocarbon
play in the Rio del Rey Basin. This was the result of
Figure 2: Intra Isongo fluid substituted synthetics (0
- 40°; fluid substituted blue logs brine, red curves gas)
for zero-phase statistical wavelet, demonstrating Class
1 AVO at top sand. (Bowleven/SNH).
Interrogation of log-derived elastic parameter models
suggest that fluid impedance generated from relative
Technical Article continued on page 12.
For Information Regarding Technical Article Submissions, Contact GSHJ Coordinator Scott Singleton ([email protected])
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Technical Article continued from page 11.
seismic inversion may discriminate hydrocarbon from
brine. However, the constraints associated with relatively
short acquisition cable lengths (4 km) and poorly
conditioned gathers limit the reliability of the inverted
seismic data. Good near-offset data does, however, enable
generation of pseudo lithology seismic for this rigid rock
matrix. Conventional interpretation and integration of
various seismic attributes revealed depositional geometries
associated with a very hard unit positioned in a structural
low, which fringed the edge of the primary structural target
(Figure 3). Therefore, the amplitude driven Intra Isongo
secondary objective was targeted. Pre-drill subsurface risk
was high due to the proximity of the CVL and the potential
of encountering nonreservoir facies.
The well encountered a 77 m clean Intra Isongo hydrocarbon
bearing sandstone reservoir. No hydrocarbon contact was
encountered, and the well flowed on test at a peak rate of
> 40 mmscf/d and 4,600bcpd from the Intra Isongo.
A comprehensive wireline logging suite was acquired in the
IM-5 well which enabled a detailed petroacoustic evaluation
(Figure 2), complemented by integration of frequencyand amplitude-dependent seismic attributes. The results
led to the creation of a hierarchical workflow which has
enabled delineation of this extensive and prolific reservoir.
The following
Figure 3: Seismic line along axis of Intra Isongo
depositional system with map inset showing position
of fairway on the flank of a present day structural low.
The base of the unit forms a widespread characteristic
soft seismic event which was used as the datum for
horizon slicing. This procedure revealed clear depositional
confinements and channel geometries, as well as apparent
variations in seismic-reservoir-facies dispersion across
the block. The high impedance contrast at the reservoir
base also provided a platform to develop a number of
interpretation guidelines (Figure 4).
1. Structural interpretation to establish reservoir
2. 2D fluid substitution modeling.
3. Establishment of elastic parameter influence.
4. 2D tuning wedge modeling.
5. Mapping of petroacoustic properties.
6. Generation of dominant frequency seismic volumes.
7. Frequency filtering and blending.
8. Correlation of petroacoustic characteristics
9. Reservoir fairway delineation.
Integrated interpretation procedure
Hard ‘bright’ seismic amplitudes associated with the
Intra Isongo have been recognized in this locality for
a considerable time. However, with the close
proximity of the Cameroon Volcanic Line (CVL) combined
with the very hard seismic response, this unit was
considered to be most likely of volcanic origin, and had
remained undrilled.
Figure 4: Tuning wedge and seismic line illustrating
interpetation guidelines. 42-degree wavelet is a
deterministic extraction from near stack seismic.
Having established the top and base reservoir tuning
envelope, the reservoir fairway was interpreted using the
guidelines shown in Figure 4. This method demonstrated
the gross reservoir fairway but gave no further indication
of the potential reservoir property variation and dispersion.
A frequency spectrum of the reservoir interval introduced
the bandwidth limitations which constrained a set of
frequency transforms and filters to enable three dominant
frequency bands to be combined and colour blended.
Technical Article continued on page 13.
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Technical Article continued from page 12.
Figure 5: Reservoir thickness estimates from tuning
envelopes. (after IHS Kingdom - modified).
Generic tuning curves created with Ricker wavelets of
increasing frequency combined with the known interval
velocity of the Intra Isongo sand has also enabled thickness
estimates to be made for the spectrally decomposed slices
through the reservoir (Figure 5). These show clearly the
Figure 7: Sand trend is sub-parallel with the modified
Hashin-Shtrikman upper bound for quartz/brine mixture.
The continuum of the Vp/RhoB behavior observed from
the IM area across to IE has led to establishment of an
associated porosity trend (Figure 7).
Having established the reservoir thickness variation through
the methods described, further changes in amplitude
throughout the reservoir fairway can now be calibrated to
the primary variables shale volume (Vsh) and porosity as
illustrated in Figures 8 and 9. It does appear, however,
that the primary factor affecting amplitude variation is
porosity (Figure7).
This has led to the Intra Isongo reservoir fairway being
described in terms of thickness and reservoir quality.
The highly integrated geophysical interpretation
methodology described herein, has been adopted as
an integral part of the ongoing reservoir appraisal and
development strategy. Predictive models based on the
Figure 6: RGB Colour-blended frequency bands
illustrating primary reservoir fairway and secondary
dominant reservoir fairway axis and also the dispersive
nature of the thinner-bedded overbank deposits. This is
clearly illustrated in Figure 6.
The frequency colour blend gives clear indication of the
depositional axis which corresponds to the conventional
interpretation. However, the frequency blend also enabled
significant secondary and tertiary channel bodies to be
identified and qualitative thickness estimates to be assigned
(Figures 5 and 6).
Recognition that the Intra Isongo reservoir was very
extensive (> 100 km2) but variable in thickness led to further
interrogation of rock physics models. This demonstrated
that the data clusters fringing the nearby IE field were
indeed part of the same reservoir system.
Figure 8: Model of variation in acoustic impedance (AI)
with increasing Vsh in Intra Isongo reservoir.
Technical Article continued on page 15.
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Technical Article continued from page 13.
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Figure 9: Model of variation in AI with increasing
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geophysical observations have been used to optimize
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consistent input to field development planning.
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Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
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Tutorial Nuggets
By Mike Graul
At first, what seemed to be an innocent publishing error, has
now evolved into a full blown scandal, reaching into the highest levels
of the Journal’s editorial hierarchy.
Alert readers of the October Tutorial Nuggets, discovered, to their dismay, that the right hand
edge of the first Nugget page had been terminated with extreme prejudice. This truncation left
serious students of geophysics bewitched, bothered, and bewildered. What were those missing
letters they wondered. Wonder no more, Curious Ones. Through the grace of his Goodness, the
Guru, those missing letters have been published for your enlightenment at the right, in the
red dashed strip. Feel free to paste these letters in the appropriate position on page 19 of the
October Journal.
The investigative tenacity of the Nugget Bomb Squad uncovered the TrunGate Conspiracy
during an examination and de-cyphering of “deleted” emails which had been passed among
“[email protected]”, “hayni[email protected]”, “[email protected]”. These Eddresses
belong to the Trinity-at-the-Top of the Journal Editorial Board. The Nugget Guru commented,
“The evidence is irrefutable. The SEG Oversight Committee has issued a self-righteous
indictment for Acts of High Treason. These Good Ole Boys are goin’ down and stayin’ down.”
A stunned Lee Lawyer was left speechless and discombobulated. (Many wondered how they
could tell.) Recovering later, Chairman Lee scoffingly denied all charges, saying, “Silly.”
If you did your homework, as assigned in our October Nuggets, reviewing the June 2011
Nugget Tutorial on F-K transforms, then you, like the other good little boys and girls, will have a
bluffing acquaintance with the transforms shown below and on the next page.
H = 250 ft
A(F, K)
Dipping Sinusoid
A point in F-K
T = .05 s
F = 5000 K
x = 625 ft
t = .125 s

=  /
V is the apparent horizontal velocity


F is the frequency of
the dipping sinusoid
with a temporal
period of T

K is the spatial
frequency in x. It’s
(horizontally) is H
Tutorial Nuggets continued on page 20.
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Tutorial Nuggets
Tutorial Nuggets continued from page 19.
that the T- X section (a stack, a gather, a shot
record, …) is labelled A(t,x). This alerts us to the fact that
the display is really a projection of a 3D image onto a
A(t, x)
plane (T-X) The “A” part is amplitude, the excursion of
the sinusoid up and down. We are assuming for the
present discussion, that the surface being imaged is
continuous in both time and space. Each displayed trace
is a cross-section through this continuous surface of
amplitude (A) in T and X. Gaze upon the picture at the
right, and envision a series of ridges (black peaks) and
valleys (troughs). Each trace (cross-section) has been
flipped on its side for the display since we don’t have wide spread access to 3D printers. For the
sinusoidal surface, the A is the peak excursion.
In F-K space, it’s the same deal. We are projecting the 3D surface on to a plane (F-K) The point,
which is A(F,K) is this projection. Projection of what? Let’s look. See below, at the left.
A(F, K)
must be very careful, when staring down onto the F-K
plane, not to impale one's eye on the sharp point of the spike
representing a single frequency of amplitude A, in both F and
Keep in mind that while the pictures shown are in fact
sampled, the transform cartoons show what a continuous
(unsampled) and untruncated (goes on forever in time and
space – much like The Guru) would look like. We’ll get to the
effects of sampling and truncation well within your lifetime.
turn our easily distracted attention to a more realistic
portrayal of a seismic wave. At the right, we see a dipping
wavelet. This may be thought of a linear chunk of a reflected
wave, or a refraction, or perhaps a surface wave. The point is to
characterize the salient features of the continuous wave in F-K
space, after which we may consider the effects of sampling and
truncation. The geometry gives us the location of the energy in
F-K space.
The choice of x or t
is arbitrary, but once chosen, establishes the “dip” (t/x) in seconds per foot,
or its reciprocal (x/t), the apparent or horizontal velocity in ft/s. We use the velocity to establish the
configuration of the F-K picture: F = VK, as shown at the lower right. Here we have used V = 5000ft/s
so as to correspond to the dipping sinusoid’s velocity.
I wonder why dip in
either direction gives a
positive velocity?
Hold that cogent thought, Curious
One, I’ll get back to you later. For now,
just realize that I make the rules.
F = 5000 K
The main difference between this example and the
earlier one is spectral. The first was a single frequency
(20 Hz), while this guy is wavelet with many frequencies. To characterize its spectrum we’ll employ
the easy rules learned at the knee of The Wise One in so many Tutorial Nuggets.
Tutorial Nuggets continued on page 21.
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Geophysical Society of Houston
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Tutorial Nuggets
Tutorial Nuggets continued from page 20.
shown at the right. Two of its key parameters, Td (dominant period) and
PW (pulse width) are extracted by visual inspection of the waveforms, w(t)
and its envelope, EW(t), respectively. Td is obtained from the most obvious
(dominant) trough-to-trough or peak-to-peak time, while PW is measured
at the half-amplitude time of EW(t). As an example, let’s say Td = .020s,
and PW = .020s (pure coincidence, trust me). In turn, we may now
compute Fd, dominant frequency, and BW, bandwidth.




Fd = 50
The F-K picture, at the right, is a projection of a
these pictures, we can
now sketch the full F-K
immediately below.
The wavelet, w(t), which is projected along the dipping line, V = x/t, is
very, very thin hill onto the F-K plane. Every
thing we see in the T-X plot is now portrayed
succinctly in this view.
The dominant spatial frequency, Kd = Fd/V
=.01, tells us that the dominant wavelength,  d
is given by 1/Kd = 100 ft. This is the dominant
feature that appears to sweep over the surface
of the earth at 5000 ft/s.
W(f, k)
f = 5000•k
Kd = .01
Now that we have the F-K transform, W(f, k) of the continuous waveform, w(t, x) in T-X space, how do
we use it to analyze the effects of sampling? We’ll worry about truncation (limiting the T and X range)
later – when we’re older and can handle life’s brutal truths.
The spatial sampling of the continuous wave field is a multiplication by
W(f, k)
1 of everything seen at intervals of X (trace spacing).
Fd = 50
Kd = .01 KH = .02
C(f, k) the sampling function
We are looking in map view at spikes
The multiplication in T-X space by c(t, x) translates, as you know by now, to convolution with the
C(f, k) in F-K. This convolution involves replacing each tooth of the sampling comb (red dots).
The Nyquist
If we set X = 100, Ks = 1/100 = .01, and the
entire spectrum, W(f, K) is repeated at intervals
Fd = 50
of Ks forever, in both directions. The computer
looks at the transform only within the range of K
W(f, k)
values limited to –Ks/2 < k < Ks/2, the so called
Nyquist Window. What does it see? What do
you see? What does it all mean? Be here in
December for a glance into the Occult.
November 2014
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Extraordinary Results. By Any Measure.
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
A Conversation With ...
Peter Vail By Lee Lawyer
Pete, as I start this interview, I draw
an analogy to Sequence Stratigraphy.
In your life, you have had high stands
and low stands with several identifiable
sequence boundaries. Let’s start with
a high stand. How did your work on
Sequence Stratigraphy get started? I noticed that you
worked with Lawrence Sloss at Northwestern. He and
Krumbine authored a book on stratigraphy, as I recall.
They identified a bunch of sequences. Maybe they were
among the first to apply that word to stratigraphy. I
am not sure.
Those are not the same sequences that I use. His spanned
many millions of years. Mine are much less than that.
But both sets are bounded by unconformities or their
correlative conformities.
I was Chief Geophysicist of Chevron. You did a project
in Portuguese Guinea or the Central African Republic
in which Chevron was a partner. As I recall, we got a
look at that work since it impacted the development
under that exploration license.
That was the project where I was convinced that seismic
reflections followed geologic time lines.
You say that Sloss’ sequences were larger than yours?
Yes. His first sequence went from the base of the
Cambrian up to mid-Ordovician and the next went
to the mid Devonian. He called these boundaries
“Global Unconformities”. They comprised 100’s of
millions of years.
Going back to Geology 101, the normal geological
time scales have Eras, Epochs and Ages. Are those
sequence boundaries as well?
Not necessarily. The classical geological ages are defined
by paleontology, but usually they are boundaries of some
kind, like an extinction or a major unconformity.
What is the minimum age span for a sequence? Or is
there one? Or who cares?
We have a hierarchy of sequences from 1st through 5th
orders. Our third order sequence, the most common, I
guess could get close to a million years.
There was a group down in New Orleans
who annotated a seismic section in
millions of years, showing how long
it took to deposit a given interval
on a seismic section. This was using
paleontology or palynology. I thought
it was extremely interesting, but as far
as I know no one published that work
back then or brought it up again. They
were interested in finding oil and gas in
New Orleans and probably discouraged
going into research directions.
If it is possible that the reader has not
been exposed to Vail et al’s work, you
will get a reasonably good synopsis
as you read this interview. Clearly,
Peter Vail hasn’t forgotten any of the
details in the development of “Seismic
Stratigraphy”, which was what it was
called originally. The broader subject
is “Sequence Stratigraphy”. I hope you
enjoy this at least half as much as I did
during the interview. Lee Lawyer
It was common for us to subdivide seismic
sections using sequence boundaries. We
dated sequence boundaries in millions
of years, so the section in New Orleans
was typical of our interpretation. Ages of
the boundaries came from our global cycle charts and
represented the ages of the correlative conformities.
I taught a class of Sequence Stratigraphy to a group of
Senior Explorationists in New Orleans. I showed them
how we used millions of years to identify sequence
boundaries. We had a lively discussion.
Paleontology was the foundation in the Gulf for correlating
various stratigraphic units and putting geologic time in
the picture. That is why I worked with those who were
correlating logs in the Gulf. I used well logs to correlate
marker horizons and developed these patterns, you
know, onlap and offlap. One of my colleagues, Paul
Tucker, came to me one day and said, ‘”You know, we
see all of those patterns on seismic data.”
I said, ”you do?” I was surprised. “Will you show me?” He
took me up to his office and showed me these examples.
After that, I knew that I needed to get into the seismic
data. That was one of my biggest decisions, to leave
geological research and get into geophysical research.
It caused quite a stir. In the geophysical research center,
they were all mathematically oriented. They thought all
of that stratigraphic stuff was foolishness. But I talked
them into reassigning me to Geophysical Research.
And then they said, “What in the world are you going to do?”
I said, “I have an idea for a project.” Exxon had drilled a
particular well. Maybe Chevron was in on it. They drilled
the first one on a structure and then followed reflections
into the basin and predicted that the sands would be
present. They drilled the second well on a down-dip
structure, and it was all shale. The obvious question was,
‘Why was that?’
I got the company’s work-up and the paleo on those two
wells. The paleo paralleled the seismic reflections, but
the sand stepped up from the basin to the shelf! The
reflection at the top of the sand, when traced out into
Interview continued on page 24.
November 2014
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Interview continued from page 23.
the basin, was shale and the sand was deeper. That’s
when I came to the conclusion that geologic time lines
followed the reflections instead of the time-transgressive
rock formations.
We might as well talk about that. As you can imagine,
that idea caused a stir among the geophysicists.
You are right. I got a lot of razzing for that. There were
two Exxon research labs, one with Humble and one
with Carter.
You were with Carter at that time?
Yes. The head of the Humble lab invited several of us down
to give talks. When he introduced
me he made the statement that Vail
believes that seismic reflections were
bouncing off of the backs of fossils!
It was a joke and got the audience
howling in laughter. Later I gave a
talk over in England. I think it was
Vining of plate tectonic fame that got
up and said, “You mean to tell us that
we have been teaching our students
all wrong all these years?”
If you told a geophysicist that the
reflections were time lines you
would get the answer, “To have a
reflection you need an impedance
contrast. You need to get the
physics right.”
Vail with
Of course, there is an impedance
contrast related to a bedding surface,
but that impedance contrast follows a depositional time line
in a normal stratigraphic setting!
When sediments are being deposited, the physical bedding
surface at any given time is by definition a time line. This
surface can go from one lithology to another, such as from
a sand along a beach to a mud in the offshore. In the next
time increment, the sand-shale contact can change age and
can get younger or older through time.
Seismic reflections, however, are generated by the
composited impedance contrasts along the physical
bedding surfaces, which are time-parallel. Therefore,
the seismic reflections are following the time lines of
the bedding surfaces. Impedance contrasts along the
reflection can change from strong to weak, but the
reflection is still there.
Mitchum’s description of this was, “It is because seismic
reflections are generated by physical bedding surfaces
and are parallel to those surfaces rather than to time
transgressive facies boundaries.” That was a little less
contentious than bluntly saying that ‘Seismic reflections
are time lines!”
We don’t say reflections are time lines. We say reflections
follow time lines.
Let’s start over with some background. What was
your thesis?
I did my thesis on a regional study of the Mississippian.
My friend Bob Mitchum worked on the Pennsylvanian,
so I studied the Mississippian. I went down to very near
the base of the Mississippian. I made a regional tour
of southeast US and checked a lot of outcrops. Since I
received a $500 grant I got one of my students to be my
assistant. He lasted until West Virginia. This was in the hot
summer. It got really hot. After the regional study, I picked
the Cumberland Plateau area in Tennessee and Kentucky
to concentrate on my thesis. I got with the Tennessee
Survey. That was sort of my headquarters. I measured
a lot of section. The $500 grant
didn’t last long. There was this little
college up on a bluff and a park near
Monteagle, Tennessee. We camped
in the park. The police found us
camping there and wanted to know
what in the world we were doing. We
explained it all and they finally let us
stay. It was our headquarters for a
long time.
There was a big Mississippian
limestone bluff that held the
plateau up. In my area of study, I
broke it up into three major units.
I named the limestone unit ‘the
Monteagle formation’. That was
the one thing that stuck from my
Tiny Geel
thesis. The Tennessee Survey
adopted that name. There was
another formation I named the ‘Calf Killer’, because
there was a river with that name. But the survey didn’t
use that one. We were working the Greenbriar formation
when my assistant left me. I went to the Kentucky Geological
Surveys and studied all of the old cable tool wells. I thought
I had done enough so I went back to Northwestern to put
it all together.
Did they log the cable tool wells?
No, I just had the cuttings to examine. I don’t believe they
had any logs, but I did have all of the outcrop sections to
work with.
When did you join Carter?
After I graduated in 1956. The first thing I did was to get
married. Actually I was running out of time writing my
thesis. I had met a girl named Carolyn Flesher. She typed my
thesis for me. Interestingly, it was through geophysics that I
met her. I was at Dartmouth at the time. I got a summer job
with the Canadian Survey to work in Canada with a Yale
professor. I was getting ready to leave when I got a cable
telling me not to come. They couldn’t hire me. They only
hire Canadians for this kind of work. There I was, stuck
without a job. I went to my Department head and told him
Interview continued on page 25.
24 Back to Index
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
Interview continued from page 24.
the geophysicists at the time were not too interested in
time lines except in milliseconds. It was structure that
was the objective. This broke new ground.
I also thought that the Vail Curves were equally
Andre Droxler and Peter Vail
I received the cable. “I don’t have my job.” He said, “I’ll
help you.” He called up his friend Bill Heroy, who offered
me a job. He was conducting seismic surveys in Illinois. I
didn’t have much money in those days. I hitchhiked from
New Jersey, where my parents lived, to Columbus, Ohio. I
had a fraternity brother who lived there who came out and
picked me up. I spent the night with him. The next day I
hitchhiked to Taylorville, Illinois and the next morning I
went with this seismic company called Geotech. They were
drilling holes, loading dynamite, and getting paper records.
We recorded paper records and made cross sections all
over Illinois.
One day one of the jug hustlers who lived in Taylorville
said they were giving a party in town that same night.
“Would you like to come?” I said, “Of course”. So I went
to the party and met this girl who later, as it turned out,
became my wife. She was teaching school there. I went
back to Dartmouth to finish college and then went on
to Northwestern. She wasn’t teaching school yet. She
was at the University of Illinois. Somehow one of her
friends found out that I was in graduate school at
Northwestern and told her. She called me up. She had a
guy taking her to a football game at Northwestern. She said
she didn’t have much time but asked if I would like to
meet her for breakfast. She was staying at the Orington
Hotel, which is right there near the school. I trotted
down there the next morning and sure enough we had
breakfast together. To shorten a long story, there was
the Blue Banner train that runs from Chicago through
Taylorville, which I started taking on weekends and
coming back on the Wabash Cannon Ball. I did that lots
of weekends. So we got to know each other pretty well.
You know that an amazing number of doodlebuggers,
guys out on crews, married school teachers! I may do a
study on that.
This September we will be married 68 years.
Back up a little…. the big questions asked were the
timeline thing. I think that was a great observation but
System Tracts
The “Vail Curves”, or global cycle charts, were an outcome
of Exxon’s worldwide seismic coverage. With Sloss’s back
ground, I picked sequence boundaries on many different
continental margins and dated their correlative conformities
using biostratigraphy. I was able to show that sequences on
a worldwide basis seemed to have basically the same ages,
so I began making charts of the cycles.
Although the ages of the sequences appeared to agree
worldwide, the amount of eustatic rise for each sequence
was more difficult to determine, which included trying to
separate eustatic rise from tectonic subsidence. The key
problem was to determine the eustatic component.
I would identify the onlap on the seismic section and use
well logs to determine if the onlapping sediments were
deposited close to sea level. If they were, I would call
the onlap coastal onlap. Using the coastal onlap, I could
calculate the thickness of the onlapping sediments and this
would give me an estimate of eustatic rise in sea level and/
or subsidence. Subsidence histories in wells and divergent
reflection patterns helped correct for subsidence. So I
plotted the horizontal extent of the onlapping sediments
against the thickness of onlap. This gave me an estimate of
the eustatic component.
When I put these charts together, they looked like “sawtoothed curves”. I plotted them on geologic time scales,
which I had to develop. I used two biostratigraphers, Jan
Van Hinte for the Cretaceous time scale and Jan Hardenbol
for the Tertiary. Later Bilal Haq helped with the complete
time scales. I later worked with a graduate student from
Rice named Victor Abreu, who worked on a thesis with
Professor Andre Droxler studying oxygen isotope records
based on planktonic forams. The eustatic curves based
on these isotopes were published in the SEPM Memoir
60. It was another independent way to arrive at eustatic
Interview continued on page 26.
November 2014
Geophysical Society of Houston
Back to Index
Interview continued from page 25.
cyclicity. It showed the greatest sea-level falls were in
the mid-Oligocene and the average falls were 30 – 40
meters. The big question was “What’s causing all of this?”
So I suggested eustatic sea level changes, and that was
really controversial.
have eustatic curves. The SEPM published Memoir 60,
which is the attempt to solve that. I thought that they will
never get their money back, but it became a best seller.
They charged $800 for it, but now have it on a disk and
charge a couple of hundred dollars.
I assume that as a result you put the word ‘relative’ in
front of it.
Let’s go to Exxon and Carter.
No. Relative changes of sea level is a name introduced for
a model which combines the effects of eustatic changes,
tectonic subsidence, and sediment input into one concept
we call the accommodation model. It has low stand,
transgressive, and high stand systems tracts. We don’t have
time to discuss all of that here.
Today we are occupied with climate change and all of
that. It was just 20,000 years ago when we had a lot of
ice over Chicago.
But it is happening today!
I guess the important question is how much of the global
climate change can be attributed to mankind. As far
as man polluting the atmosphere, there is little doubt
there. One needs to just look outside.
The thing that affects me here in Houston is the effect on
birds. I am a bird watcher. The robins used to winter in
Houston in large numbers. They don’t come here anymore.
I haven’t seen any this past winter. Where did they go?
They stop before they get here. I have a friend that lives up
at Huntsville. They get a lot of them up there. We get some
here but not many. We used to get great flocks of them.
I would feed them out back. I lived on Del Monte Street.
There was a big park across the street. It would be covered
by hundreds of robins in the winter. Goldfinches are also
much less frequent.
Yes, I recall the robins ate the red berries on trees and
get sort of drunk.
One could go at this global change by using the migratory
habits of birds. They know what the temperature is.
Canadian Geese also stopped somewhere up north.
Are your sea level curves too large to be caused by ice?
Someone said that if we melted all of the ice on land,
we would have forty feet of sea level change. Forty feet
is not close to what your sea level curves show.
There are other people working on this. There is some
thought that it might be due to …..
I read somewhere that it may have to do with a midAtlantic ridge build up.
That kind of tectonism is not fast enough. That is on the
scale of a Sloss sequence.
I guess the ground is subsiding. That seems the only
answer we have left. I can’t imagine these major sea
level changes predicted by your relative sea level curves.
We have a sea level chart using coastal onlap and we also
I started with Carter. I developed this procedure called
pattern correlation. I developed all of that from the detailed
correlation of well logs. I published it internally to Carter.
I got with a guy named Chuck Campbell. He showed
me on outcrops and well logs on how these correlations
represented bedding surfaces that followed geological
time. So when I did the study in Africa, I did detailed
correlations of bedding planes. They were time lines as we
discussed earlier.
That was an important leap? But I am still with Exxon.
A while back I had lunch with a chap called J. B.
Kaufmann. …..he was a strong personality.
He was my manager.
He blames Exxon completely for the release of Seismic
Stratigraphy. Had I interviewed him at that time, one of
my early questions would have been, “Why did Exxon
publish all of that material?” He would get red in the
face. He didn’t think that Exxon, internally, was using
it or fully understood its impact. And he couldn’t get
anyone very interested.
He surveyed the different managers and asked them
whether it should be released. When they agreed, he
released it and then was blamed for the release when the
industry enthusiastically embraced it.
You know he wrote novels. He said that his wife objected to
his crude language used in the books. I went to his funeral.
They gave everyone there a copy of one of his books. I
forget which one. One good thing about J.B. was that he
really supported me. He really did.
Plate tectonics came out in the early sixties. Do you
see any connection to sequence stratigraphy and plate
tectonics? Obviously, the stratigraphy has to exist with
all of these plates moving around.
We have a long term curve, which is sort of an envelope
and we correlate that with the size of the ocean basins
created by plate tectonics. Most tectonic movements are
too slow to explain the 3rd order cycles.
You know that when I retired, I started my own oil
company. What I wanted to do was to get into consulting
and earning a percentage per well. What I found was that
the people I was working with wanted me to invest rather
that listen to advice. So I did that a few times but was
unsuccessful. We had two discoveries. These companies
were undercapitalized. They were unable to complete
them. There was one in South Texas out in front of the
Cretaceous reef. It had a lot of drilling problems and when
they got down they couldn’t get the logging tools down.
Interview continued on page 27.
26 Back to Index
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
Interview continued from page 26.
They had 500 feet of Woodbine sand, full of oil out in
front of the reef. They couldn’t get it out.
The other was up in Washington County. It was a gas
well. During a full day it flowed at 11 million cubic feet. So
I though, gee that’s a nice discovery. Then they weren’t
able to complete it. So my two discoveries were less
that successful. The gas well used horizontal drilling.
I think the engineering that goes into horizontal
drilling and completion is amazing. But on the other
hand, this is bad news for the seismic guys. They
don’t need structure anymore. They just find a source
bed and then drill horizontal holes.
If you had it do over, are there any changes you
would make?
No, I really enjoyed my work. The time with Exxon
was good. It was after I retired that Rice gave me
a teaching job, which was rewarding because of getting
involved with students.
This ended the interview with Peter Vail. When
I first arrived for the interview he was sitting
near the doorway in a wheel chair. He asked me
November 2014
to wheel him back to the room we were going
to use for the interview. I facetiously suggested
that the wheels alongside the chair could be used
just as well. Mark one goof-up for Lawyer. He
had had a fall in Naples that resulted in his
confinement to a wheel chair. Anyone else could
have rightly been a little taken aback by my gaff,
but not Pete. He kindly told me of his accident
and his resultant problems. Here was a person
who loved geology, spent a lot of time in the
field, was one of the authors of a significant step
forward in seismic interpretation, and here was
I, about two feet tall. Much earlier I saw Pete
when we were both involved in a symposium
held in China. And either before or after that,
he led a group of Chevron employees (of which
I was one) on a field trip using terminology
derived from his ‘Seismic Stratigraphy’, which
sort of morphed into Sequence Stratigraphy or
visa versa.
Geophysical Society of Houston
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Wavelets - Underwater Exploration: New UH Sonar
and Seismic Capabilities
By Anoop William, Robert Stewart, and Jiannan Wang, University of Houston
Figure 1: Bathymetric and sidescanning sonar rigged from the
side of the research vessel Milan in
Galveston Harbor during the 2014
Geophysics Field Camp.
Figure 2: An echo image from the side-scanning sonar (EdgeTech 4600)
along a traverse underneath the Pelican Island Causeway. The rectangular
bridge footings in the channel are apparent. The top graph shows the energy
of echo returns.
A nice advantage of practicing geophysics in Houston is
proximity to the energy industry and the Gulf of Mexico.
Many geophysical opportunities (and challenges) are
found in the nearby offshore. The Allied Geophysical
Laboratories (AGL) and geoscientists at the University
of Houston have begun to introduce “hands-on” marine
studies into our geophysics curriculum. While we have
been undertaking land surveys and processing for some
years, we are now beginning to acquire and analyze
shallow marine data.
Initially we have been developing a shallow marine
acquisition and processing capability. To do so, we have
acquired some very fine equipment including:
• EdgeTech’s 4600 wide-swath bathymetry and
side-scanning sonar system operating at 540 kHz
(Figure 1). An EdgeTech 3100 portable subbottom profiler operating at 2 - 16 kHz frequency
• Falmouth Scientific’s HMS 620 “Bubble Gun”
electromagnetic seismic source (boomer) pulsing
over a band from 70 – 700 Hz
(chirp system). We combined it on the research vessel
Milan, with the bathymetry and side-scan sonar under
the guidance of new UH geophysics professor, Dr. Will
Sager. A side-scan sonar image, acquired while passing
under the Pelican Island Causeway, shows the bridge’s
footings (Figure 2). We delivered the program via a
collegial partnership with staff and facilities at Texas
A&M University in Galveston.
Haiti Expedition 2014
In July of 2014 a team from UH used the sub-bottom
profiler to acquire 100 km of high-resolution lines in
Haiti (Figure 3).
With leadership from UH’s Dr. Paul Mann, we surveyed
over the 130 km2 brackish Lake Azuei and 15 km2
fresh-water Lake Mirogoane that both straddle the active
trace of the Enquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone. Faults
on or near this plate boundary region gave rise to the
devastating 2010 earthquake. An example of the chirp
data (Figure 4) show a bathymetric anomaly associated
with the fault.
• A 24-channel MicroEel streamer from Geometrics.
We have also conducted several surveys in the last
few months. The first survey was part of our annual
Geophysics Field Camp operated this year out of
Galveston. We next took the “chirp” or sub-bottom
profiler to survey two lakes in Haiti as part of our SEGsupported Geoscientists Without Borders humanitarian
program. Finally, in August 2014 we surveyed Clear
Lake and Galveston Bay as a component of a field school
taught in conjunction with Nautilus World.
Galveston Field Camp
During the 2014 UH Geophysics Field Camp in
Galveston, we inaugurated our sub-bottom profiler
28 Back to Index
Figure 3: UH team attaching the sub-bottom sonar
(chirp) to a lake vessel in Haiti in July 2014.
Geophysical Society of Houston
Wavelets continued on page 29.
November 2014
Wavelets continued from page 28.
Figure 4: An example of the chirp data show an
active anticline that is deforming Holocene lake
sediments in Lake Azuei along with active strands of
the Enriquillo fault zone.
Nautilus Industry Course
Closer to home, AGL has partnered with a major
geoscience education provider (Nautilus World) to deliver
seismic acquisition training for industry professionals.
This five-day school was dedicated to giving hands-on
experience in various land and marine seismic exploration
techniques. Students from a range of countries including
Ireland, Germany, Ghana, and UAE thrived in the
program and managed to survive the Gulf Coast’s August
humidity. A highlight of the course was conducting sonar
(Figure 5) and seismic lines from Clear Lake to Galveston
Bay - past the restaurants of Kemah.
Figure 6: The boomer seismic source rigged from the
side of a “Party Boat” out of South Shore Harbor near
Kemah. Streamers (hydrophone cables) were attached
on arms from the vessel’s stern.
This is both for research and educational purposes. UH
currently has a very large undergraduate geophysics
cohort (some 130 students) and a similar number of
graduate students. To our knowledge, this makes it the
largest university geophysics program in the world outside
of China. Via marine surveying (and other initiatives),
we are looking to keep our program vibrant and useful
to students, in both industry and the university. In
addition, by having our own acquisition systems, we can
undertake research projects to advance marine analysis
and coastal understanding.
A special thanks to Li Chang and Ady Geda from the
Allied Geophysical Laboratories for their assistance in all
facets of our geophysical surveying. We appreciate the
staff at Texas A&M University, Galveston; Haiti Bureau
of Mines and Energy; South Shore Harbor, League City;
and Nautilus World for their generous help with logistics.
Figure 5: Sub-bottom sonar image from a Clear Lake
transect. The two-way time of events (0.02s) indicates
subsurface depths of up to about 15m.
We rigged one of the local boats with arms to support
the sonar and seismic sources (Figure 6), as well as two
hydrophone streamers.
The boomer was fired every second and produced
reflections down to about 100 ms, or about 75 m below
the lake bottom (Figure 7). We look forward to further
processing and interpreting all of these new data!
UH and the Allied Geophysical Lab are expanding our
geophysical capabilities to include marine surveying.
November 2014
Figure 7: Raw boomer seismic data from the Clear
Lake transect. We can see reflections down to 100 ms
(about 75 m).
Geophysical Society of Houston
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Welcome New Members
Amir Abdi
Asa Nahidi
ION Geophysical
David Cameron
VAALCO Energy Inc.
Kristoffer Rimaila
dGB Earth Science
Gerard Murphy
Padmasri Morri
Hesham Refayee
dGB Earth Science
Yong Ma ConocoPhillips
JD Stephenson
Antonio Montes
Kranthi Garidepalli ION Geophysical
Carol Villagomez
Maya El Hariri
Connor Thompson FairfieldNodal
Neda Bundalo
Marathon Oil
Gil HowelDolphin Geophysical
Steve Erck
Jiahui Zhong
Steven KratkyFidelity Exploration & Production
Julianne O'Brien
Ikon Science
Susan KnaupAmanhan Energy Development Justin Simmons
Thad Dunbar
Laura Kamrath
Mark Mixon
Martin Schwed
Matthew Mayer
Ronald Paul
Iron Will Energy
Aamir Rafiq
University of Calgary
Kevin Liner
University of Arkansas
Lei Fu
Rice University
Nyakno Jonah
University of Calabar
Xiao Yang
Rice University
Yue Zhang
Rice University
Zheming Tong
Cornell University
Zhili Wei
University of Houston
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For more information about becoming a Corporate or Individual
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Z-Terra is currently soliciting applications for highly motivated Processing
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Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
GSH Made its Debut at URTeC in Denver, CO
The Geophysical Society of
Houston made its debut at the
2nd Unconventional Resources
Denver, Colorado, August 25-27.
Our primary goal was to promote
the value of membership of the
GSH to professionals who live,
work, or travel to Houston for
business. To that end, we were
very successful in connecting with
over 30 potential new members
and event sponsors. The GSH
booth was attended by several
of our GSH member volunteers
– some of whom are pictured.
The conference and exhibit was
L-R Liza Yellott, Sofia Campbell, Nicola Maitland, Denise Dorsey & Sophia Hak
held in the Colorado Convention
Center Denver, Colorado and
attracted over 5000 industry professionals. URTeC is an integrated event for unconventional resource teams and
included attendees from across all geological, geophysical, engineering, environmental, and policy-making disciplines.
In July 2015 we are pleased that the 3rd UTReC will visit us in San Antonio, Texas!
Annual Post Office Statement
November 2014
Geophysical Society of Houston
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Mystery Item
This is a geophysical item...
Do you know what it is?
This month's answer on page 35.
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Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
Miguel Silva
V.P. USA and Canada
C: (281) 827-8710
P: (713) 650-3200
F: (713) 650-3201
Email: [email protected]
November 2014
2101 Smith St. Suite 250
Houston, TX 77002 - USA
Geophysical Society of Houston
, Beaufort Sea,
Chukchi Sea, other Alaska
Gravity Data
Photo Gravity Corporation
Gravity Data - Gravity Data Processing - Digitizing
Bob Gardner 713-582-8129
Bob Neese 281-342-2884
Dick Baile 713-932-6906
Fax: 713-827-1622 * [email protected]
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
HPAC Auxiliary News
The Houston Petroleum Auxiliary Council
By Donna Parrish, Liaison 281-859-8088
Bonjour y’all! This issue finds your liaison writing an advertisement
for a volunteer to continue reporting on our
auxiliary activities through May. Please contact
Sally Blackhall if you can help with this activity.
The articles are due two months ahead; so there
is plenty of time to procrastinate. Writing skills are
not necessary as your skills will improve as you
report on our activities and all info supplied to you
by participating interest groups. Remember, this
page in the Geophysical Journal is the lifeline for
many members. You will be appreciated. I am currently in France and not able to participate
in auxiliary activities. I look forward to hearing
from you!
Dress up, bring a friend, as our Holiday Luncheon
Treat is upon us. On December 15, 2014
be at The Junior League (1811 Briar Oaks
Ln.) for a stunning luncheon with a mystery
entertainer. Rumor has it that “Someone will be
in the Building” who will come out and help make
this the biggest event of our year. The Junior League
will be decorated for your pleasure. Early November Book Club meets. Contact Mickey
Murrell for details. Bridge Groups and Explorers
continue. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! See you next year!!! Your liaison,
Donna Parrish
Corporate Members
Apache Corporation
Dot Hill Systems Corp.
The Mystery Item for the October GSHJ is
Seismic detector that includes
a velocity geophone as well as a
hydrophone. It was used for shallow
water seismic work.
Mystery Item on page 32.
November 2014
Mystery Item
Lone Star Geophysical
We appreciate our
Our HPAC Mission Statement is "to promote and foster social relationships among its members and to assist the
Engineering, Geological, Geophysical, and Land Societies in their various requests.”
Seabed Geosolutions
Seitel, Inc.
For more information about becoming a Corporate
Member, please contact the GSH office at
281-741-1624, or [email protected]
Geophysical Society of Houston
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11 Greenway Plaza
Suite 2010
Houston, Texas 77046
713.457.8100 Tel
[email protected]
Gene Van Dyke
Chairman & CEO
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
Geoscience Center News
1790 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. N. (Right on Shadow Wood)
By Bill Gafford
Our news this month comes
from Gene Womack, one of our
Geoscience Center volunteers.
When you come into the
GSH office, you can’t help but
notice a bronze figure, carrying
geophones in one hand and a
cable draped over his shoulder.
If you stop and look closely, you
will notice he is walking among
cactus, a snake, flagging, and a
firing line spool tied to a stake.
This sculpture, on loan from
Gordon Greve, is a miniature of
the original 10’ sculpture that
resides in the SEG Tulsa office
complex. It was sanctioned by
the SEG Foundation in 2002
and sold almost 90 copies
until the conclusion of the
fundraising program in 2009.
These were sold at a price of
$2500.00 each and revenue
from each sale was allocated
such that $1500.00 went to the general operating fund
as payment for casting, shipping, and staff overhead,
while the remaining $1000.00 was treated as a taxdeductible contribution to the Tulsa Geoscience Center
(now closed) temporarily restricted fund.
Obtaining this sculpture took longer than obtaining a
seismic contract for a 96 channel crew from Gordon. It
took several years of lunches and visits with Gordon and
his wife, Wanda at their home in Durango, Co. I had
given up trying to obtain his sculpture and had started to
cajole Lee Lawyer into letting us have his which is #1 in
his personal collection. I found out Lee is not cajole-able
as he would not have anything to pat (actually he rubs the
doodlebugger’s cap daily) when he comes home; so that
did not work out either.
This year on our annual pilgrimage to southwest Colorado,
we were having lunch with Gordon and Wanda and I tried
a different approach, suggesting a loan instead of a gift.
He agreed with Wanda applauding (she doesn’t have to
dust it anymore). After security escorts across Colorado,
Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, it arrived safely
at the GSH office.
It is on loan until one of his children in the future wants
it back.
It will reside in the GSH office for the public and
members to view. In between viewings it will be displayed
November 2014
appropriately at our Geoscience Center and schools
when we are educating potential earth scientists.
The sculpture is shown with Gordon and Wanda. Our
many thanks to them for this piece of history.
GSH Geoscience Center Challenge
This is a new opportunity to support the
GSH Geoscience Center. Longtime GSH
and SEG member Dick Baile has offered to
donate $5000 to the Geoscience Center if
that amount is raised from individuals in the
next 12 months.
Donors will be recognized in our “Friends
of the Geoscience Center” listing near our
entrance. Financial support will continue
to be solicited from companies.
The GSH is a 501(C)3 organization.
Donations can be sent to the GSH office
at 14811 St. Mary’s Lane, Suite 204,
Houston, Texas, 77079, with a note that
the donation is for the Geoscience
Center Challenge.
Geophysical Society of Houston
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Doodlebugger Diary
Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
By Lee Lawyer
Chuck Andrews obligingly sent me this note a few
months ago. Interestingly, Maurice Ewing et al did
refraction shooting in the Gulf of Mexico looking
for the discontinuity called the Moho. It was called
that because most geophysicists didn’t know how to
pronounce the whole name. The industry also did long
offset shots to get an estimate of the velocity layers. I
think those were called X2-T2 shots. LCL
This story took place in the Gulf of Mexico a long time
ago. It was about a major oil company marine seismic
crew, Party number 143, gathering very basic information
preparatory for an upcoming Western GOM Federal lease
sale. A lot was still to be learned about GOM structural
geology in the mid-to-late 1960’s. We had recently shot
some very long profile refraction surveys trying to learn
what was the depth to basement and to other geologic
formations above it. One of those long refraction lines
was 100 nautical miles long and actually saw segments
of the Mohorovicic discontinuity.
This trip was an exception to the normal reflection
seismic surveys that we had been conducting. It was
to tie one of the long refraction lines and to go to the
Sigsbee Escarpment in very deep water. Since this was
before digital recording and extra-long record length
data acquisition, two analog recording systems were
configured to sequentially record each one’s normal
record time allowing for a total record length of fourteen
seconds. That sounds pretty typical for today’s work, but
it wasn’t in 1968. It was also exceptional at that time for
its single line total length of 223 nautical miles.
The recording boat was the Colorado, probably 75 feet
long and maybe a beam of 20 feet with 48 channel
analog instruments and newly configured for continuous
tow rather than stopping at each shot point to let the
cable be more or less stationary for the recording. Energy
source was provided by two shooting boats rather than
the normal one, so that there would be enough dynamite
for the entire line. Shots were alternated between
the two using 50 pounds of dynamite at each point.
Environmentally acceptable sources had not yet been
The line origin was just offshore Freeport, Texas, and
the destination was along maximum geologic dip at
the edge of the Sigsbee Escarpment. The destination
would be identified by the name Alaminos or Keathley
Canyon or beyond today. The event started off in early
morning and went smoothly on a beautiful sunny day
until some unwanted excitement shut the operation
down probably at about two-thirds of the programmed
length. I was standing in the dog house watching a
printout of each individual record, when suddenly a
spurious high amplitude event appeared on possibly
half of the traces at a zero water depth and horizontal
path. There was an immediate concern of where did
this unknown explosion come from? We rushed topside
to see what it could be. Something had exploded and
it wasn’t from us. In later years, when several crews
might have been in near proximity, this event would not
have had the same reaction. But there weren’t other
crews shooting, and not coincidentally, we did know
that we were traversing the U.S. Air Force’s designated
bombing range. But all necessary clearances and
permits had been dutifully acquired long before this
voyage ever began. Our shooting stopped immediately,
and I was on the radio the rest of the afternoon
inquiring from every military branch and location within
thousands of miles to see if someone had been doing
unauthorized practice bombing around us. After hours of searching, no one admitted to bombing
near our location. Now, it was time to regroup and try
to continue our assignment. However, a problem had
developed in that one of the two shooting boats, still
very heavily loaded with tons of dynamite, had decided
to evacuate the area and return to shore and perceived
safety. Ironically it was the oil company shooting boat
that beat a hasty retreat and returned to shore. The
contract company’s shooting boat had loyally remained
with us in the bombing range. The next morning our oil
company shooting boat returned to join our fleet and we
went merrily on to complete our mission. It took quite a
long time to process that strange kluge of data but the
results turned out to be quite good, and we finally saw
a lot of geology that, as far as I know, no one else had
ever seen. The record showing the errant explosion was
analyzed by the research laboratory, but no real answer
was discovered to explain what had exploded near our
recording cable. I don’t remember, if I ever knew, the
cost of this one long line, but I suspect it still holds the
record for being the most expensive line ever shot by the
company. The oil company, by the way, was Shell Oil
and by now has a pretty good record exploring for oil
and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. If you would like to add stories to the Doodlebugger Diary, send them to: Lee Lawyer at
[email protected] or mail them to Box 441449, Houston, TX 77244-1449
38 Back to Index
Geophysical Society of Houston
November 2014
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