3D Basement Structure in Southeastern New Mexico from Normally Discarded Portions of ContinuouslyRecorded Oil Exploration Surveys

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Anastasija Cabolova, Cornell University, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Ithaca, NY, United States and Larry D Brown, Cornell Univ, Ithaca, NY, United States
The current generation of seismic reflection technology for land surveys relies on continuous rather

than triggered recording strategies. Conventional 3D imaging of the sedimentary cover is gleaned

from only a fraction of the data actually recorded, with the remainder typically treated as “noise” and

sometimes simply discarded. There is a growing recognition, however, that this “noise” contains a

variety of useful seismic information of use to both the oil explorationist and the academic seismologist.

Of particular interest to us is the fact that this discarded portion explicitly contains 3D information

about deep basement reflections. Here we present results of processing of the deeper, normally

ignored or discarded, portion of a nodal, semi-continuously recorded seismic surveys in SE New Mexico

/W Texas to produce 3D seismic imagery to Moho depths. Although in this area the quality of the

basement imagery is limited by attenuation in, and multiples from, the thick sedimentary cover, the

results confirm the existence of an extensive Precambrian layered sequence in the upper basement.

That correlates with previous COCORP surveys in the midcontinental area. These results demonstrate

both the tremendous potential, and inherent limitations, of 3D mapping of the continental crust by

systematically mining the rapidly expanding database of continuously recorded oil exploration data, and

the clear need to preserve rather than discard the unconventional portions of those records.