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# Lecture 14:

Velocity Analysis
Controls on velocity in the earth
Types of velocities
Normal moveout corrections
Departures from NMO
Calculating coherency
Stacking
Velocity Analysis
The main goal of velocity analysis in reection seismology: nd
velocities that atten reections for the best possible imaging
Performed on common midpoint gathers
What controls seismic velocity?
Porosity (depths < 10 km)
Temperature (~0.4-0.56 m/s/C)
Pressure (~0.2 x 10
-3
km/s/MPa)
Composition
Typical velocity of water is ~1.5 km/s
Average continental crust 6.45 km/s
Typical mantle velocity ~8 km/s
Carlson & Gangi, 1985; Christensen & Mooney, 1995; Korenaga et al., 2002
Velocity increases with depth in
sedimentary rocks
Closure of porosity is the dominant control on changes in
velocity with depth in the sediments.
Velocity and overpressure
Increases in pore
pressure cause
decreases in
effective pressure
and in seismic
velocity
Example from the
Black Sea
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Variations in porosity
and velocity with depth
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## Porosity decreases with depth due to

increases in overburden and
compaction
Empirical relationship between depth
and porosity: Athys Law
Relationship between porosity and
velocity:
where V
M
is measured velocity, V
F
is velocity of
pore uid, V
R
is the velocity of the matrix and
! is the volumetric porosity.
Christensen & Mooney (1995)
Composition
and velocity for
crustal and
mantle rocks
Vp decreases with SiO
2
Vp increases with MgO
Effect of
pressure and
temperature on
seismic velocity
Modied from Rudnick and Fountain 1995
competing effects of
increasing
temperature and
increasing pressure
with depth
velocity goes down
with increasing
temperature, but up
with increasing
pressure
Average velocity structure of oceanic crust
Zero-incidence travel times for one layer
For a vertically incident
reection from an
interface at a depth (h)
overlain by a constant
velocity layer (v), the
expected two-way travel
time (t
0
) is:
Normal moveout (NMO): changes in travel time as a function of
offset between the source and receiver.
Generalizing zero-incidence relationship for other source-
receiver offsets:
Normal moveout for one layer
Squaring and substituting
equation for t
0

## Normal moveout for one layer

Normal moveout for one layer
2
'
0

'
3
Original
reection
Good NMO
correction
Overcorrected:
Velocity too low
Undercorrected:
Velocity too high
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Normal moveout for multiple layers
Travel times of arrivals in stratied earth are dependent on
the thickness and velocity of all of the layers they travel
through
where C
2
, C
3
, etc are complicated functions of velocity and layer
thickness and
i
is the vertically incident travel time through the i
th

layer, and t
0
is the sum of the
i

## If make the small spread approximation (offset is

small compared to depth), we obtain the hyperbolic
form:
However, this equation does not do well at large
source-receiver offsets when small spread
approximation does not apply
Normal moveout for multiple layers
Departures from NMO
Interfaces with dips or other complexities
Laterally variable velocity over small distances
Anisotropy
Effect of one dipping bed on NMO
Effect of multiple beds with
arbitrary dips
If layer dips are gentle and
the spread is small, can
assume at dips and use the
simpler expression for NMO.
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Anisotropy
Haase, CSEG Recorder, 2001
Transverse anisotropy is common in sediments due to layering. Seismic
waves usually travel faster parallel to bedding than across it
The angle at which the seismic wave is traveling through the subsurface
changes with increasing offset, so that long-offset arrivals are seeing
higher velocities
In NMO corrected CMP-gathers, this appears as a hockey stick
Velocity analysis
A number of methods developed to estimate
NMO velocities:
1. Line tting in t
2
-x
2
domain
2. Constant velocity moveouts and stacks
3. Velocity spectrum
Constant velocity moveouts
Choose range of moveout velocities that encompasses
reasonable possibilities
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Constant velocity stacks
Select velocities that yield most coherent and strong
stacked events for each depth interval
Constant velocity approaches good in areas with
complex structure
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Constant velocity stacks
(continued)
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Velocity spectrum
Velocity spectra are a way to effectively transform data from x-t
domain to v
stk
-t domain and pick velocities. Several approaches
developed for this.
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Stacked amplitude: Apply normal moveout and stack
gather for a range of stacking velocities:
where M is the number of traces, f is the amplitude
value of the i
th
trace at two way travel time of t(i)
along a hyperbola associated with trial velocity v
stk

Velocity spectrum
Velocity spectrum
Normalized stacked amplitude: Apply normal moveout
and stack gather for a range of NMO velocities:
where M is the number of traces, f is the amplitude value of
the i
th
trace at two way travel time of t(i) along a hyperbola
associated with trial velocity v
stk
. Sensitive to trace polarity.
Velocity spectrum
Unnormalized cross correlation sum: Cross
correlation across CMP for trial velocity within a time gate.
Can be interpreted as half the difference between the output
energy of the stack and input energy
Other related options: Normalized cross-correlation
sum and energy-normalized cross-correlation. These bring out
weak events on the velocity spectrum
Velocity spectrum
Semblance: normalized output-to-input energy ratio. Varies
from 0 to 1. Semblance (or coherency) = Total energy in the
stack in a time window/ Sum of energy in the traces in time
window
Practical considerations for
velocity analysis
Peaks in the velocity spectrum are not always the correct
stacking velocity for a particular time examine which
events are attened to assess which velocity is best
Multiples, peg-legs and other arrivals commonly cause
peaks in velocity spectra at lower velocities. Best to err
on the high side.
Pay attention to vertical and lateral variations in velocity
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Chopra and Hoffman, 2006
Stacking velocities along a prole
Chopra and Hoffman, 2006
Other factors affecting velocity analysis
Cable length, high velocities, deep
reectors: longer source-receiver offsets
enable more accurate velocity picking to
greater depths and of layers with higher
velocities
Bandwidth: Higher frequency wavelets
enable higher resolution velocity picking.
Noise
Fold
Supergathers
Combine adjacent CMPs to create supergathers
to increase number of traces included in
spectrum calculation.
Interval velocities
The interval velocity for a particular horizon can be
estimated from the stacking velocities using Dix
equation:
where v
n
and v
n-1
are stacking velocities at the layer
boundaries n and n-1
Stacking velocities versus real
velocities
Stacking velocities are optimized for imaging
purposes, and interval velocities derived from
them may differ from real velocities
Other methods of extracting velocity
information from prestack MCS data:
Tomography
Waveform inversion
NMO stretching
Frequency distortion occurs as a result of NMO
correction, particularly at shallow depths and large
source-receiver offsets
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Frequency distortion
expressed as:
where f is the dominant
frequency
NMO stretching
NMO Stretch Mute
To remove sections that are badly affected by NMO
stretching, a stretch mute is applied
Can be specied in terms of the % stretch mute.
A typical stretch limit is ~100%
A smaller stretch limit can be used if the signal to noise
ratio is very good to preserve the original bandwidth
A larger stretch limit may be appropriate if signal-to-noise
ratio is higher
Can also be picked manually
Stacking
1. Simple mean amplitude stack: Sum amplitudes at all
times and take the mean
2. Weighted stack: Weight certain offsets more than
others
3. Median stack: Use median rather than mean.