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Exploiting the control of phase in marine vibratorsGreen Open Access

Authors: Robert M. Laws, David F. Halliday, Ali Özbek and Jon-Fredrik Hopperstad
Journal name: First Break
Issue: Vol 34, No 11, November 2016 pp. 65 - 74
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.14Mb )

Marine seismic vibrators are considered to be more environmentally friendly than air guns and this has prompted a resurgence of interest in their use. However, these devices have novel features that are potentially of great benefit to seismic imaging and that have not yet been exploited - in particular, we can control the phase. With marine vibrators, the emitted waveform can be chosen freely, provided that it lies within the envelope of what the device can emit. Typically, the waveform is a swept-frequency sinusoid. In this paper, we show how the sweep phase can be used to suppress the residual shot noise (RSN) and to separate simultaneous sources of high multiplicity. This work is also described by Laws and Halliday (2013) and is closely related to that of Laws (2012). The control of phase is a benefit of marine vibrators that can be exploited to great effect. First, we look at the RSN situation. The conventional wisdom is that roughly a 10s shot-time interval is required in marine seismic data acquisition so that the RSN is acceptably small relative to the signal. Because both signal and RSN originate from the seismic source, the ratio of signal/RSN is not improved by using a larger source (pace Landrø, 2008). We show a simple case of RSN attenuation using alternating sine and cosine sweeps. That is to say, the sequence of source phases goes, for successive shots, [0° 90° 0° 90° 0° 90° 0° 90°... and so on]. We show schematically how this ‘phase sequencing’ leads to a dramatic attenuation of the RSN. It does so by moving the RSN into parts of the frequency-wavenumber spectrum where there is no signal. We then use frequency-wavenumber filtering to remove the RSN. This can be done with simple filtering up to the limit imposed by spatial aliasing and beyond that limit by using wavefield reconstruction methods, such as generalized matching pursuit (Özbek et al., 2010; Vassallo et al., 2010). Reconstruction methods decompose the seismic wavefield into a set of basis functions that allow the signal and RSN to be identified and separated. Then, we look at the simultaneous source situation. The RSN removal problem can be considered as a special case of the more general simultaneous source separation problem. As an example, in the case of two simultaneous sources, one source can be swept with consistent phase, while the other source is swept with alternating phase, i.e., the sequence of relative phases is [0° 180° 0° 180° 0° 180° 0° 180°... and so on]. The simultaneous source separation is demonstrated using the same type of reconstruction method as described above for the RSN. See also Moore et al. (2008) and Ji et al. (2012). The use of phase sequencing opens up possibilities for simultaneous source separation using large numbers of sources. By having complete control over the phases of all the sources it is possible, in certain domains, to make simultaneous source data look similar to aliased data from a single source. This opens the door to using many established wavefield interpolation and dealiasing-techniques to perform high-multiplicity simultaneous source separation.

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