The new synergy between seismic reflection imaging and oceanography
S.M. Jones, R.J.J. Hardy, R.W. Hobbs and D. Hardy
Journal name: First Break
Issue: Vol 26, No 8, August 2008 pp. 51 - 57
Info: Article, PDF ( 816.37Kb )
The effects of variation in oceanic temperature and salinity on reflection seismic images became widely known to the hydrocarbon industry in 1993 following acquisition of large 3D seismic surveys in the Faroe-Shetland Channel. A decade later, it was shown convincingly that conventional reflection seismic data provide good quality images of oceanic thermohaline structure. Over the past five years, it has been established that seismic reflection surveying provides a tool to efficiently survey unprecedently large ocean volumes at high spatial resolution. We illustrate the processing stages required to produce oceanic images using seismic data from Rockall Trough, west of Ireland. When the cause of the seismic reflectivity is better understood, seismic images might eventually be used to measure spatial variation in oceanic mixing, which should significantly enhance our understanding of the climate system. The industry has the chance to help in mapping the ocean by facilitating access to legacy seismic data and by making the water layer of new seismic data available for academic research. Ability to predict spatial and temporal variation in oceanic temperature and currents, at little extra cost in comparison with seismic data acquisition, should also help the industry in field development and management.