Resolution and Hockey Sticks, Part 1

Iowa Climate Science Education

Guest sciency schist by David Middleton

Resolution vs. Detection

Geoscientists in the oil & gas industry spend much of our time integrating data sets of vastly different resolutions. Geological data, primarily well logs, are very high resolution (6 inches to 2 feet vertical resolution). Geophysical data, primarily reflection seismic surveys, are of much lower and highly variable resolution, dependent on the seismic velocities of the rocks and the frequency content of the seismic data. The rule of thumb is that a stratigraphic unit must be at least as thick as one-quarter of the seismic wavelength (?/4) to be resolved.

Seismic wavelength vs velocity for 10, 25, 50 and 100 Hz dominant frequencies. (SEG Wiki)

Thinner beds can be detected, but not resolved. The same principle applies to normal faults. If the throw (vertical offset) is at least ?/4, the fault can be resolved and the…

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