“Large”-Scale Seismic Reflection for Infrastructure Projects Not just for Oil and Gas Anymore

The seismic reflection method is one of best established geophysical techniques taught in introductory geophysical courses. A common misconception of the method is that it is solely a tool for mapping deep geologic structure and stratigraphy. This perception is unfortunately associated with the level of cost and scale required for petroleum exploration. Modern engineering-scale seismographs (12-48 recording channels) have been used to a varying degree of success in mapping shallow geology with seismic methods. Recent advancements developed for the petroleum industry in instrumentation and data acquisition are being co-opted by the shallow geophysics community with tremendous success. Wireless sensors, very large seismic sources, and professional-level data processing services are now being applied beyond the oil patch and incorporated into small engineering-scale projects. In this paper, the authors will show several examples where the utilization of hundreds of recording channels was capable of providing high-resolution geophysical data for a fraction of the exploration costs required only 10 years ago. Project examples include identifying karst features, mapped and unmapped fault structures, and general geologic structure. These examples are completed, ground-truthed engineering projects. Additionally, the authors present one example where the seismic reflection method was only marginally successful at achieving project goals, as well as a discussion about the drawbacks and limitation of the method. Finally, as an industry it can be safely stated that seismic reflection surveys are no longer “just for the big boys” and can provide added benefit to the shallow engineering community.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 560-574
  • Monograph Title: Proceedings of the 64th Highway Geology Symposium (HGS 2013)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01644024
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2017 9:46AM