Introduction to Applied Depth Imaging

Ruben Martinez

This course provides an understanding of the basic concepts and practical aspects used for building velocity models and generating seismic images.

Hydrocarbons are increasingly more difficult to find because conventional and unconventional reservoirs are often present in areas with complex structural and stratigraphic characteristics. The geological complexity has motivated a significant paradigm shift from time imaging towards the extensive use of seismic depth imaging. Seismic depth imaging improves the definition of structural and stratigraphic frameworks and provides a better assessment and mitigation of risk in Exploration and Production (E&P).


Two days

Intended Audience

Entry and Intermediate

Prerequisites (Knowledge/Experience/Education Required)

This course is for geologists, geoscientists, geophysicists and seismic and geological interpretation specialists seeking to learn and understand the information content and value contained in seismic depth images to enhance subsurface characterization. The participants do not need to have a background on seismic depth imaging. However, basic knowledge about seismic data acquisition, processing, interpretation, structural geology, stratigraphy and well logging is desirable but not required.

Course Outline

The goals of this course are: (1) to learn and understand, in an intuitive way, the basic concepts and practical aspects of depth velocity model building and imaging used for an optimal subsurface characterization, and (2) to expose the participant to current seismic depth imaging practices used by geophysicists and geoscientists through workflows applied in complex geology areas.

The general contents of the course are

  1. Introduction to the course
  2. Fundamentals of seismic migration to generate subsurface images
  3. Understanding the basics of seismic velocities
  4. Practical understanding of velocity anisotropy and its impact on the seismic imaging accuracy
  5. Review of velocity and anisotropic parameter estimation methods used in seismic depth imaging
  6. Salient aspects in seismic data conditioning for seismic depth imaging
  7. Optimization of seismic images for a more reliable geological interpretation
  8. Analysis and application of workflows for depth velocity model building and imaging in geologically complex scenarios
  9. Overview of emerging velocity model building and imaging methods

Learner Outcomes

The aim of this course is for the participant to gain knowledge on seismic depth imaging concepts and applications to enhance the subsurface characterization in complex geology areas. At the end of the course, the participant will be able to:

  • Understand how to generate seismic depth images.
  • Explain the pitfalls of seismic time imaging when used for subsurface characterization.
  • Explain why seismic depth imaging mitigates risk in subsurface characterization.
  • Discuss basic seismic acquisition and processing parameters influencing the seismic depth images quality generated in complex geology areas.
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular prestack depth migration methods.
  • Recognize the resolution limitations of the seismic data to produce optimal seismic depth images for complex structural and stratigraphic frameworks.
  • Describe how to estimate seismic velocities for seismic depth imaging in specific exploration and field development scenarios.
  • Explain the impact of velocity anisotropy caused by the geologic framework, in the tridimensional positioning of the structural and stratigraphic features and well ties.
  • Design and implement seismic depth imaging workflows for specific E&P scenarios (sub-salt, pre-salt, thrust belt, sub-basalt, complex carbonates and clastics).
  • Judge the seismic depth images quality for a geological interpretation.
  • Interpret seismic depth-imaged data.
  • Make informed decisions when choosing seismic depth imaging workflows and technologies for exploration or field development projects.
  • Effectively communicate about emerging seismic depth imaging methods and technology.

Instructor Biography

Ruben D. Martinez