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Short courses


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Course description

This course covers all areas of applied seismic anisotropy, with class exercises, and ample time for full discussion. Because anisotropy is such a fundamental concept, it covers topics in seismic acquisition, processing, imaging, and interpretation, all based on seismic rock physics.

Course objective

This is not a “methods course”, but rather is a “concept course”, familiarizing the students with essential concepts, enabling them to ask the right questions in future conversations, rather than to operate particular software packages.

Course outline

1. Physical principles (Day 1, morning)
2. P-waves: imaging (Day 1, afternoon)
3. P-waves: characterization (Day 2, morning)
4. S-waves: (Day 2, afternoon)
5. C-waves: (Day 2, afternoon)
6. Epilogue: (Day 2, afternoon)
*) When this course is offered as an inhouse Course, the schedule and emphasis can be adjusted to fit the company's needs.

Participants' profile

Geophysicists should attend who have a working knowledge of conventional exploration geophysics, and wonder how it can be that we use isotropic concepts to acquire and analyze data that come from rocks that, after only brief thoughtful consideration, must clearly be anisotropic.

Recommended reading 

Before attending the course participants are recommended to read the following paper:

Thomsen, L., Weak Elastic Anisotropy, Geophysics, 51(10), 1954-1966,1986.

About the instructor 

Leon Thomsen holds titles of Chief Scientist at Delta Geophysics, Research Professor at the University of Houston, and Visiting Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He holds a B.S. in geophysics from California Institute of Technology (Pasadena), and a Ph.D. in geophysics from Columbia University (New York). He held postdoctoral positions at Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (Paris), International Business Machines (Palo Alto), and Caltech. He was Assistant, then Associate Professor at the State University of New York (Binghamton), with sabbatical positions at Goddard Institute for Space Studies (New York) and the Australian National University (Canberra).

Leon’s industrial career began in 1980, at Amoco’s famous research center in Tulsa, where he was the Amoco inventor of what we now call seismic AVO. He led significant revisions to the exploration seismic paradigm, helping to establish the basic ideas of polar anisotropy and azimuthal anisotropy. His 1986 paper, establishing the modern field of seismic anisotropy, is the single-most-cited paper in the history of Geophysics; a Google search of the term ‘Thomsen parameter’ returns over 300,000 hits. In 1995, he moved to Amoco’s Worldwide Exploration Group in Houston, where his 1997 paper established the modern field of converted-wave exploration, defining such concepts as “C-waves”, “registration”, “gamma effective”, “diodic velocity”, etc. In 2008, Leon retired from BP, and established the consultancy Delta Geophysics (cf.

Leon has served the Society of Exploration Geophysics as Distinguished Lecturer, Vice-President, and President (2006-07). He served as SEG/EAGE DISC Instructor in 2002. He holds the SEG’s Fessenden Award, and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences’ Kapitsa Medal. He is an Honorary Member of the Geophysical Society of Houston, and of the EAGE, and is a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.