An introduction to seismic reflection data: Acquisition, processing and interpretation

David Cox, Andrew Newton, Mads Huuse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Knowledge of the subsurface can be ascertained from outcrop extrapolation, drilling, mining and geophysical measurements. Geophysical techniques help us to fully understand the evolution of sedimentary basins by creating images of the subsurface. This is especially important in basins where either the trend of the stratigraphy or the lack of outcrop creates great uncertainty on what the geological record is beneath the surface. The most common and versatile method used to image the subsurface is the reflection seismic method applied in either two-dimensional lines or three-dimensional volumes. This involves the generation and transmission of sound waves into the subsurface where it is then refracted or reflected at the interface between rocks with different physical properties or rocks that contain different fluid types. The energy that returns to the surface is then recorded and processed to create an acoustic image of the subsurface. In this chapter, the physical background and general workflow, from the collection of seismic data to its interpretation, are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegional Geology and Tectonics
Subtitle of host publicationPrinciples of Geologic Analysis
EditorsNicola Scarselli, Jürgen Adam, Domenico Chiarella
PublisherElsevier BV
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-444-64134-2
ISBN (Print)978-0-444-64134-2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • seismic acquisition
  • seismic processing
  • Seismic reflection
  • acoustic impedance
  • geophysics
  • seismic interpretation
  • direct hydrocarbon indicators


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