Seismic exploration helps scientists pinpoint ideal drilling locations within natural gas and oiloil and natural gas reservoirs. Seismic testing, which uses sound waves to create 3-D images of underground rock formations, is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of natural gas and oiloil and natural gas exploration. Seismology refers to the study of how energy, in the form of sound waves, moves through the earth's crust and interacts differently with various types of underground formations.
Seismic technology works very much like a sonogram or MRI used in medicine. Seismic field data is used to generate 3-D pictures of underground formations and geologic features. These images allow geophysicists and geologists to study the composition of underground formations in a particular area.
3-D seismic imaging uses an energy source, such as vibrator trucks, to produce sound waves beneath the surface. The sound waves encounter various underground rock layers in the earth’s crust and are reflected back to surface detectors called geophones. Geophones are sensitive pieces of equipment that are embedded in the ground throughout the surveyed area. The geophones pick up the reflected signal and transmit it to a recording truck for further interpretation by geophysicists and natural gas and oiloil and natural gas reservoir engineers. Each underground layer reflects the waves in a different direction, depending on the makeup of the layer. Using this information, scientists are able to create 3-D images of the underlying rock formations.
3-D seismic imaging is extremely useful in the exploration for natural gas and oiloil and natural gas. The images generated through this process can be used to estimate the probability of producing formations and their characteristics. As a result, this technology has raised the success rate of exploration efforts by ensuring more accurate placement of drillsites, resulting in more productive wells.