Design, modelling and imaging of marine seismic swarm surveys
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 66, No 8, October 2018 pp. 1535 - 1547
Info: Article, PDF ( 15.77Mb )
Autonomous marine vehicles instrumented with seismic sensors allow for new efficient seismic survey designs. One such design is the swarm survey, where a group, or swarm, of slow moving autonomous marine vehicles record seismic data from shots fired by a source vessel sailing around circles within the swarm. The size of the swarm is dictated by the maximum offset requirement of the survey, and it can be shaped to acquire wide- and full-azimuth data. The swarm survey design equation describes the relationship between the source and receiver positions of the survey and the subsurface coverage or fold. It is used to adapt the swarm to the seismic survey requirements and to calculate survey duration time estimates as function of available equipment. It is shown that a survey conducted by a slowly moving swarm requires six times fewer shots than an equivalent seabed node survey conducted over 85.5 km2. Swarm surveys can also be adapted to efficiently conduct infill surveys and replace multi-vessel undershoots. The efficiency of the survey can further be increased when the autonomous marine vehicles are towing short streamers with multiple receivers. Synthetic tests show that the seismic images for swarm surveys are comparable to those from streamer surveys, while little variation in image quality is found when reducing the number of autonomous marine vehicles but equipping them with a short streamer with multiple receivers.