Reflection seismic data acquisition and processing for enhanced interpretation of high resolution objectives

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Reflection seismic data were acquired (by CONOCO, Inc.) which targeted known channel interruption of an upper Pennsylvanian coal seam (Herrin #6) in the Illinois basin. The data were reprocessed and interpreted by the Regional Geophysics Laboratory, Virginia Tech. Conventional geophysical techniques involving field acquisition and data processing were modified to enhance and maintain high frequency content in the signal bandwidth. Single sweep processing was employed to increase spatial sampling density and reduce low pass filtering associated with the array response. Whitening of the signal bandwidth was accomplished using Vibroseis whitening (VSW) and stretched automatic gain control (SAGC). A zero-phase wavelet-shaping filter was used to optimize the waveform length allowing a thinner depositional sequence to be resolved.

The high resolution data acquisition and processing led to an interpreted section which shows cyclic deposition in a deltaic environment. Complex channel development interrupted underlying sediments including the Herrin coal seam complex. Contrary to previous interpretations of channel development in the study area by Chapman and others (1981), and Nelson (1983), the channel has been interpreted as having bimodal structure leaving an"island" of undisturbed deposits. Channel activity affects the younger Pennsylvanian sediments and also the unconsolidated Pleistocene till. A limit to the eastern migration of channel development affecting the the Pennsylvanian sediments considered in this study can be identified by the abrupt change in event characteristics.