How do 3D Seismic Surveys Work?

Larry M. Koonce is the president and chief executive officer of the North American Drilling Corporation, a leading oil and gas production company based in Plano, Texas. As the organizational leader of North American Drilling, Larry Koonce manages the company’s oil and gas exploration activities. To find the most promising prospects, North American Drilling draws upon technologies such as 3D seismic surveys.

Like 2D seismic imaging, 3D seismic surveys involve the creation of a shock wave in a target area and subsequent analysis of the geological data it provides. Unlike 2D surveys, which create a shock wave along a predetermined line, 3D surveys use a system of source points and receiver points positioned perpendicular to one another in a grid system. The shock wave originates from source points, reflects off of subsurface features, and is ultimately collected at the receiver points in a target area. The data obtained from the shock wave enters a series of computerized processes which aggregate the data and create a detailed topographical image. Geologists and geophysicists can then interpret these images and determine whether or not the area is likely to contain oil and gas reserves.


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