Geophysics - Surface Imaging

Principles and Applications of Seismic Interferometry and Ambient Noise Seismology in Hydrocarbon Exploration



  Dr Gerard Schuster (KAUST, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)


  1 day


  Geophysics – Surface Imaging






  5 CPD points




Course description

This one-day course is designed for a broad range of seismic researchers, data processors and interpreters working in the petroleum industry. The course teaches the principles of seismic interferometry, ambient noise seismology and their applications to surface seismic, VSP and OBS data. The ultimate objectives are to enable geophysicists to evaluate the potential of seismic interferometry in uniquely solving their problems and to provide them with a basic working knowledge so they can explore the possibility of interferometric and ambient noise solutions. The instructor will select optional topics that are of most interest to participants. Both deterministic and ambient noise seismic interferometry will be presented.


Course objectives

Upon completion of the course participants will be able to:

  • Replicate the basic workflow for applying seismic interferometry to seismic data;
  • Execute MATLAB codes for applying seismic interferometry to controlled source and ambient noise VSP and SSP data;
  • Derive the basic equations of interferometry;
  • Apply supervirtual interferometry to refraction data.

The diligent and well-prepared participant might be able to adapt a novel interferometric solution to their particular seismic problem.


Course outline

Topic modules of 40-75 minutes will be presented, which consists of a 40-50 minute lecture followed by a break and/or a short exercise that reinforces the key principles in the lecture. The MATLAB exercise can be carried out on the instructor’s laptop as well as on the MATLAB-enabled laptops of the participants.

Topic 1: Overview of Seismic Interferometry

  • Definition of and intuitive derivation of seismic interferometry
  • Definition of ambient noise and controlled source deterministic interferometry
  • Historical background
  • Classification matrix, assumptions, benefits, and limitations
  • Examples and MATLAB exercise

Topic 2: Background review on Green's functions (optional)

  • Definition of Green's functions and Helmholtz equation
  • Properties of Green's functions: causality, acasuality, stationarity, reciprocity, high frequency approximation
  • Huygen's principle and intuitive derivation of Green's theorem
  • Pencil and paper exercise

Topic 3: Reciprocity Theorems

  • Reciprocity theorems of correlation and convolution types
  • Farfield and stationary phase approximations
  • Predicting multiples for SRME and primaries by interferometry
  • Pencil and paper exercise
  • Abbe, Rayleigh, and superresolution

Topic 4: VSP and SSP interferometry

  • Derivation of VSP->SSP, SSP->VSP, SSP->SSP transforms
  • Examples: VSP data and surface waves
  • Benefits, limitations, and new opportunities
  • MATLAB exercise

Topic 5: Supervirtual Interferometry of Refraction Data

  • Derivation of SSP->SSP transform
  • Exploration and earthquake examples
  • Benefits, limitations, and new opportunities
  • MATLAB exercise

Topic 6: Interferometric Interpolation

  • Derivation of interferometric interpolation
  • Matching filter and aliasing
  • OBS and SSP examples
  • Benefits, limitations, and new opportunities

Topic 7: Ambient Noise Interferometry

  • Derivation of passive interferometry equations
  • Benefits, assumptions, and limitations
  • Earthquake and exploration examples
  • MATLAB example


Participants' profile

The integrated nature of this course means that it is suitable for seismic interpreters, researchers, and data processors. Managers are encouraged to attend in order to consider the potential of seismic interferometry in solving some of their exploration and reservoir problems.


About the instructor

Dr Gerard Schuster

Gerard T. Schuster received his M.Sc. in 1982 and his Ph.D in 1984 from Columbia University, both in Geophysics. From 1984-1985 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, after which he assumed a faculty position in Geophysics at University of Utah from 1985 to 2009. In that time he won several teaching and research awards, founded and directed the UTAM consortium, was chief editor of Geophysics for several years, and supervised more than fifty students to their graduate degrees. He was given EAGE's Eotvos award in 2007, awarded SEG's Kauffman gold medal in 2010, and is the 2013 SEG Distinguished Lecturer for spring 2013. In the summer of 2009 he moved to KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) as a Professor of Earth Science just north of Jeddah. He holds a joint appointment with both Universities, except he is now an adjunct Professor of Geophysics at University of Utah. His primary interests are in seismic migration and modeling, interferometry, waveform inversion, and a fondness for solving geological problems with modest-sized seismic experiments. Since 2018, he also also been teaching courses on machine learning.


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