The Leading Edge complements Geophysics, SEG's peer-reviewed publication long unrivalled as the world's most respected vehicle for dissemination of developments in exploration and development geophysics. TLE is a gateway publication, introducing new geophysical theory, instrumentation, and established practices to scientists in a wide range of geoscience disciplines. Most material is presented in a semitechnical manner that minimizes mathematical theory and emphasizes practical applications. TLE also serves as SEG's publication venue for official society business.
TLE's regular features include at least four departments with periodic (usually monthly) articles on key technological aspects of geophysics. Material for each of these departments is selected and approved by a geophysicist working in the field.
- Acquisition/Processing treats the latest developments in what many consider the "hard" science part of geophysics.
- Interpreter's Corner is a major focus of TLE because SEG surveys indicate that at least 50% of its 20 000 members (representing more than 100 countries) consider interpretation of geophysical data as their primary duty. These articles emphasize seismology but are not limited to that technique.
- The Meter Reader is designed to update SEG members on the latest developments in potential-fields geophysics.
Some features in TLE treat areas other than technology that are likely to impact SEG members. These articles have varied authorship.
- Round Table offers a forum for debate of contentious issues (technical and nontechnical) affecting geophysics and geophysicists.
- Interpreter Sam chronicles the everyday misadventures of the Everyman of interpretation.
- State of the Net describes the evolution of SEG's vital Web site and informs readers about how to get the best results from their Web surfing time.
- President's Page informs the members of the Executive Committee's actions in such important areas as business office procedures, developing new or improved membership benefits, and cooperative projects with sister societies.
- From the Other Side, by former SEG President Lee Lawyer, keeps retired SEG members in contact with the geophysical community and each other.
- Geophysics Bright Spots, by John W. Stockwell, Jr., summarizes upcoming articles in Geophysics.
- Reflections features biographies of SEG members who have made significant contributions to science and the Society.
- Signals publishes letters to the editor.
- The Back Page is currently dedicated to mini-reviews of the most influential articles published in TLE.
Each issue of TLE also includes a special section devoted to a particular area of technology, especially new techniques or methods that seem likely to have a major impact in the near future on the working routine of most practicing geophysicists. Experts, many of international renown, select articles for these special sections which are announced ahead of time (often a year or more) in the TLE Editorial Calendar. In addition, TLE's Classifieds section is the world's marketplace for businesses and people looking for geophysical goods and services.
Technology: Applied geophysics is a rapidly changing field. For example, 3D seismology, already rated one of the great technological breakthroughs in the history of resource exploration, has been in routine use only for about 20 years. Although 3D seismic is the best known of the recent advances in technology, there have been many others—AVO, AVA, coherence cube, ocean-bottom seismic, 4D or time-lapse seismic, multicomponent recording and interpretation, deepwater technology, etc. Because the field is changing so rapidly and often unpredictably, TLE publishes articles on all aspects of geophysical technology well before these areas have undergone enough field testing for rigorous peer review. TLE aims to serve as a "loose filter," publishing articles deemed of interest to most exploration geophysicists, but none that run counter to the accepted laws of physics.