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Perception of visual information: the role of colour in seismic interpretationGreen Open Access

Authors: B. Froner, S.J. Purves, J. Lowell and J. Henderson
Journal name: First Break
Issue: Vol 31, No 4, April 2013 pp. 29 - 34
DOI: 10.3997/1365-2397.2013010
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 431.46Kb )

Interpretation of geological features in seismic data is a subjective process, relying on one’s visual perception and experience built up over several years. Based on these human factors, financial decisions are made that may have serious consequences to a petroleum company. The aim of this study is to review the role of one key visual cue in this interpretative process: colour. Colour is a powerful cue that can have a significant impact on the interpretation of seismic data. However, compensation mechanisms within the human perceptual system can sometimes lead to unexpected visual effects, such as luminance sensitivity and simultaneous contrast, which have the potential to bias the interpretation of geoscientific information and therefore increase interpretation uncertainty and risk. Here we examine these visual effects, and present the findings of an experiment aiming to illustrate bias dependent on the use of colour. Both inter- and intra-operator differences were found in the manual delineation of a sedimentary geobody from seismic data. The results clearly suggest that measurements from seismic data based on manual delineation of imaged object boundaries can be associated with uncertainties that are usually unquantified.

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