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SEG releases revision to SEG-Y data-exchange format

The first revision issued by SEG in 15 years

Tulsa, OK — 11 April 2017 — The Society of Exploration Geophysicists has released a major update to the venerable SEG-Y workhorse seismic data exchange standard.

Culminating more than two years of development and feedback from a large community of users, SEG-Y Revision 2.0 (SEG-Y_r2.0) provides highly enhanced flexibility while maintaining a high degree of backward compatibility. Notable new features of SEG-Y_r2.0 include:

  • Up to 65,535 additional 240-byte trace headers
  • The ability to unambiguously map or remap trace-header contents (For example, Seismic Unix and PASSCAL can now create revision 2-compatible SEG-Y while still preserving their prior trace-header usage.)
  • Capacity for traces to have up to 232–1 samples, and for up to 264–1 traces per line and ensemble
  • Sample intervals can be arbitrarily large or small
  • Support for little-endian and pair-wise byte swapping
  • Microsecond time-stamp accuracy
  • Higher-precision coordinates, depths, and elevation, and more options for coordinate reference system specification
  • Depth, velocity, electromagnetic, gravity, and rotational sensor data types
  • Optional XML-based Extended Textual File Headers for ease in machine processing

Rune Hagelund and Stewart A. Levin guided development of the standard revision and edited its content under the auspices of the SEG Technical Standards Committee. The first version of the SEG-Y standard was published by SEG in 1975. Revision 1 was published in 2002. SEG-Y_r2.0 is the first revision issued by the Society in 15 years.

This updated format standard may be downloaded from the SEG Technical Standards webpage.

About the Society of Exploration Geophysicists

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists is a not-for-profit organization committed to connecting the world of applied geophysics. With more than 27,000 members in 128 countries, SEG provides educational and technical resources to the global geosciences community through publications, books, events, forums, professional development courses, young professional programs, and more. Founded in 1930, SEG fosters the expert and ethical practice of geophysics in the exploration and development of natural resources, characterization of near surface, and mitigation of earth hazards. For more information visit

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