Multi-measurement integration for near-surface geological characterization
A. Laake and C. Strobbia
Journal name: Near Surface Geophysics
Issue: Vol 10, No 6, December 2012 pp. 591 - 600
Special topic: Physics-based Integrated Characterization
Info: Article, PDF ( 8.95Mb )
Price: € 30
Geological characterization of the near-surface is challenging because often shallow layers are unconsolidated and their properties have rapid and significant variations in vertical and lateral directions. This creates challenges for a majority of geophysical methods, which have limitations in the presence of a complex distribution of physical properties and that give optimal results over limited depth intervals, which are different for the different methods. The shallow near‑surface depth region is often problematic for standard seismic exploration methods. As a result, geological characterization through individual measurements is often compromised. The solution proposed here is the integration of multiple measurements of surface and deep subsurface properties, with the goal of generating a geologically meaningful lithostructural model of the near-surface. The underlying idea is based on the observation that deep subsurface structural features often leave an impression on the surface. This provides an opportunity for structural mapping at the surface and below the bottom of the near-surface zone to guide the processing and interpretation of data from the near-surface. We show how the integration of multiple data sets from the measurement of different physical properties can be used to generate and enhance specific near-surface products such as drilling risk maps or P-wave velocity models for static corrections or for velocity modelling. The analysis proves that integration of multiple data sets can provide a solution when individual measurements, such as refraction traveltimes, do not provide sufficient information to characterize the lithostructure of the near-surface. Satellite surface imagery and deep seismic data can provide the structural framework for the processing and interpretation of shallow seismic data. Simultaneous joint inversion of shallow P- and S-wave data reveals the vertical and lateral velocity structures in the near-surface, which are usually concealed when only refraction data are used. Finally, the correlation of multiple data sets in a correct spatial reference provides a quality control for the data set and allows for the lithostructural interpretation of data in the near-surface.