Towards a more comprehensive usage of reflection seismic in near-surface characterization

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Martin Blouin1, Erwan Gloaguen1, Gilles Bellefleur2 and Andre Pugin2, (1)Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique-Eau Terre Environnement INRS-ETE, Quebec City, QC, Canada, (2)Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
For more than a decade, research groups such as the Geological Survey of Canada built the interest for near-surface reflection seismic by proposing small vibrating sources and three components (3C) landstreamers. Developments in the instrumentation combined with extensive use of shear-wave profiling to image stratigraphy of unconsolidated environments at high resolution got this geophysical method more versatile, more accurate, increased cost effectiveness and allowed to cover greater distance per day. With those major upgrades as a starting point and in a context of regional aquifer characterization in St-Lawrence Lowlands in the province of Quebec, Canada, the present study propose a workflow to further enhance reflection seismic usage for near-surface characterization.

First, as high resolution near surface surveys require small shot intervals and multiple channels on three axis, a lot of the acquisition information is received under a raw form yielding to unproductive quality control (QC). Hence, a tool was developed to process data “on the fly” and allow adequate real-time QC and on-site decision making. The algorithm was constructed in a Python environment and is accessible through a graphical user interface where the user is prompted for geometry parameters inputs and desired processing flow steps. Second, at the scale of seismic wavelengths, fine grain and poorly consolidated sediments such as marine clay of the St-Lawrence Lowlands can be viewed as a homogeneous medium presenting anisotropy. This section of the study showed that such geological settings yield to significant seismic velocity variations with angle of propagation that should not be ignore for normal move-out correction, migration or time to depth conversion. Finally, accurate delineation of stratigraphic horizons is an important task of any environmental or hydrogeological characterization study. A methodology was put forward to help integrate geophysical measurements with geological knowledge in the construction of stratigraphic maps. The approach accounts for reliability and resolution of the measurements, extracts statistical information from reflection seismic interpretations and can further serve as a tool for reinterpretation of the seismic data.