The use of vertical seismic profiles in seismic investigations of the earth

By: , and 



During the past 8 years, the U.S. Geological Survey has conducted an extensive investigation on the use of vertical seismic profiles (VSP) in a variety of seismic exploration applications. Seismic sources used were surface air guns, vibrators, explosives, marine air guns, and downhole air guns. Source offsets have ranged from 100 to 7800 ft. Well depths have been from 1200 to over 10,000 ft. We have found three specific ways in which VSPs can be applied to seismic exploration. First, seismic events observed at the surface of the ground can be traced, level by level, to their point of origin within the earth. Thus, one can tie a surface profile to a well log with an extraordinarily high degree of confidence. Second, one can establish the detectability of a target horizon, such as a porous zone. One can determine (either before or after surface profiling) whether or not a given horizon or layered sequence returns a detectable reflection to the surface. The amplitude and character of the reflection can also be observed. Third, acoustic properties of a stratigraphic sequence can be measured and sometimes correlated to important exploration parameters. For example, sometimes a relationship between apparent attenuation and sand percentage can be established. The technique shows additional promise of aiding surface exploration indirectly through studies of the evolution of the seismic pulse, studies of ghosts and multiples, and studies of seismic trace inversion techniques. Nearly all current seismic data‐processing techniques are adaptable to the processing of VSP data, such as normal moveout (NMO) corrections, stacking, single‐and multiple‐channel filtering, deconvolution, and wavelet shaping.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The use of vertical seismic profiles in seismic investigations of the earth
Series title Geophysics
DOI 10.1190/1.1441357
Volume 47
Issue 6
Year Published 1982
Language English
Publisher Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Description 13 p.
First page 906
Last page 918