Reflection and Refraction Seismic Methods.

Crutchley, Gareth J. and Kopp, Heidrun (2017) Reflection and Refraction Seismic Methods. In: Submarine Geomorphology. , ed. by Micallef, Aaron. Springer, Cham, pp. 43-62. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-57852-1_4.

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Seismic reflection and refraction methods are routinely used to illuminate sub-seafloor geological relationships, thereby providing a means to investigate a wide range of Earth processes that influence submarine geomorphology. Since the birth of seismic methods for exploration of ore bodies and petroleum in the early part of the 20th century, progressive technological advancements have ensured that the seismic method remains a fundamental geophysical tool in both the oil and gas industry and scientific research. For both marine seismic reflection and refraction methods, the primary principles are based around the notion of sending artificially-generated sound waves downward into the Earth and recording the energy that returns to recording instruments (receivers). In the case of seismic reflection, the down-going wavefield reflects off geological boundaries characterized by density and velocity contrasts before being recorded by an array of receivers. In seismic refraction experiments, the notion is to record energy that has been refracted at multiple geological boundaries before, ultimately, being refracted at a critical angle and then returning to receivers on the seafloor. Survey designs for both methods are many and varied, ranging from relatively simple two-dimensional surveys, to multi-azimuth three-dimensional surveys that illuminate the subsurface from different directions. Although the state of the art in seismic methods is continually evolving, this chapter gives some examples of modern and developing trends that are relevant to investigations into submarine geomorphology. Examples include high-resolution 3D seismic imaging, high-frequency sub-bottom profiling, waveform inversion and deep-towed seismic acquisition. The strength of the seismic reflection method lies in its ability to gain insight into structural and stratigraphic relationships beneath the seafloor, as well as in investigating fluid flow processes. The refraction method, on the other hand, is often used as the tool of choice for crustal-scale investigations into deeply-rooted geological processes that shape the seafloor, such as plate tectonics and volcanism. As with all scientific methods, seismic methods are most powerful when combined with complementary geophysical, geological or geochemical methods to address a common Earth science question.

Document Type: Book chapter
Additional Information: Print edition published in 2018
Keywords: Reflection, refraction, seismic methods
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
DOI etc.: 10.1007/978-3-319-57852-1_4
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 14:02
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2019 07:52

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