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Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source
In conclusion, it should be said that the critical comments made in this paper were made out of concerned admiration for the Vibroseis technique. It should not be forgotten that, apart from its success as an exploration tool, it has stimulated more interest and contributed more to our understanding of seismology than any other technique. The vibrator remains the most sophisticated energy source with the greatest possibilities for development. —W. E. Lerwill (Lerwill, 1981, p. 526)

Introduction
The vibroseis method was introduced in the mid-1950s by Conoco. The name Vibroseis was a trademark of Continental Oil Company, granted in 1962. William Doty and John Crawford applied for the original patent on 27 February 1953, and it was granted on 31 August 1954. The first claim of this patent is as follows (Doty and Crawford, 1954, p. 7): Broadly stated, the present invention comprises a method of determining the travel time, between spaced first and second points, of a unique signal having vibration energy which is non-repetitive during a period which is at least as long as such travel time, comprising (a) Transmitting such a signal from said first point, (b) Providing a counterpart of said transmitted signal, (c) Multiplying (i)  at least a substantial portion of the total transmitted vibration energy of said signal which is received at said second point, by (ii) said counterpart signal, (d ) Integrating for a substantial period the product of said multiplication, and altering the phase relation between said counterpart signal and said transmitted signal during successive integrating periods, and (e) Recording the values derived from such integration; whereby the out-oftime-phase relation of said counterpart signal with respect to the transmitted signal at said first point, which yields the greatest value from such integration, may be used as a parameter of the travel time of said unique signal between said points.

Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  97

Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow

In 1953, the seismic business focused mainly on measuring traveltimes, which still are the center of our attention. Perhaps we can obtain slightly better precision now, and after almost 60 years, we can measure more than just traveltimes. Doty and Crawford (1954) include a description of correlation, but surprisingly, they never use the word correlation itself. Could we describe vibroseis operations without using that word today? The vibrator started life as an alternative to explosive sources on land. It had to compete for a short time with weight-drop trucks, but they could not be synchronized, whereas vibrators could. After various technologies were tested (Figure 1), hydraulic technology was found to be the most suitable for use in geophysics. In 50 years, the land vibrator weight, which is related to signal amplitude, increased from 10,000 to 90,000 lbs (Figure 2). Along with hydraulic and mechanical improvements, control systems have gone through continuous evolution from analog signal generation and analog baseplate-acceleration phase lock to ­ digital signal generation and digital control of force amplitude. Figure 1. Early centrifugal vibrator. Off-center weights Correlation of vibroseis data inside the centrally located box provide a thrust that is has profited from the much more proportional to the square of the instantaneous freimpressive ­ evolution of the comquency and is confined to the vertical direction. From puter business. Today, an inexpenCrawford et al., 1960. sive PC workstation easily can handle real-time correlation of data from a multithousand-channel crew. Fifty years ago, it would have taken a full night of impressive and costly machines such as those shown in Figure 3 to correlate the few tens of 12-channel records acquired during the day. The vibroseis technique was applied to the generation of shear waves (polarized in a controlled direction) by rotating the axis of motion in the horizontal plane. However, the horizontal vibrator suffers from the larger damage it Figure 2. Modern land vibrator. The technology is most causes to the environment; conseoften hydraulic. The weight and the maximum generquently, its use has almost disapated force (peak force) range between 40,000 and peared today. Edelmann (1981) 90,000 lbs. Photograph by J. Meunier.

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98  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers

Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source

proposes to use two vertical vibrators side by side, emitting in opposite polarity to generate shear waves. That technique was impaired in production by the difficulty of running two vibrators safely side by side. Note that the difficulty of generating controlled shear waves is not specific to the vibroseis technique. Consequently, shear information is extracted more and more Figure 3. Multichannel correlator. The original descripfrom P-waves converted to S-waves. tion from Crawford et al. (1960, p. 102) reads, “From The very first attempts at using right to left . . . are the input drum and amplifiers, multivibroseis as a marine source inchannel delay drum, operators console, power supvolved putting a vibrator truck on a plies, two racks of multiplier-integrators, and three boat. That resulted in much more pieces of readout equipment.” From Crawford et al., 1960. energy sent into the boat than into the sea, so another arrangement had to be used. In the mid-1980s, IVI (Bird et al., 1984) proposed the vibrator represented in Figure 4. Basically, it is a vibrating shell acting like a volumetric source immersed in the water. Baeten et al. (1988) make a t ­ horough analysis of the signal generated by that type of vibrator. Other designs were proposed that used magnetostrictive (Fritsvold et al., 1987) or electro­ magnetic ­ (Tenghamn and Figure 4. Marine vibrator. The volume of a cylinder Long, 2006) actuators. immersed in water is varied by hydraulic actuators. Used by permission of Industrial Vehicles, Inc. The development of marine vibrators suffered from at least three adverse conditions. First, the vibrators had to compete with air guns that already were mature and widely deployed. Second, the energy output of marine vibrators was inadequate, especially in the low end of the frequency spectrum. Third, when towed behind a boat, the ­ v ibrators provided signals that were smeared by the Doppler effect. That last problem could be solved (Dragoset, 1988), but the other two remain today. The marine vibrator continues to be a marginal source. One expected advantage of the vibrator is lower instantaneous energy, which is seen as being friendlier to marine life than the loud sounds produced by air-gun arrays. A second advantage of the vibrator is the possibility of using several sources simultaneously to accelerate acquisition of wide-azimuth data. I shall not describe those marine vibrators. The definitions and notations in Table 1 will be used throughout this chapter.

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Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  99

The force is driven earth and a reaction mass. piezoelectric. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. The following description of the land vibrator represents the mechanical model of the vibrator with the hold-down weight and its electrical analog (Figure 8). Definitions and notations. but it is most often This compression is performed by a corhydraulic. relation using the pilot signal or by a deconvolution of the data using a signal estimate provided by the weighted sum described below. The actuator Figure 5. The actuator can be by a pilot signal. An actuator generates an oscillatory force netic. Principle of the seismic vibrator. electromagnetic. which also is used to purely mechanical. Used by perstraints result in a degraded behavior mission of CGGVeritas. Re­­ corded seismic data are compared to bags that act as a low-pass filter.org/ Pilot or pilot signal Peak force Drive Sweep Upsweep Downsweep Sweep rate Sweep length Sr L Notation P Pf D Sw Definition Signal (digital now) used to control the vibrator and most often to compress vibroseis data Maximum force at which the vibrator can generate Percentage of the peak force used Sinusoidal signal with a continuously varying frequency A sweep with a frequency that increases monotonically A sweep with a frequency that decreases monotonically Frequency variation rate: df/dt Sweep duration (s) Vibrator principle The land-vibrator principle is de­ picted in Figures 5 and 6.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Table 1. hydraulic. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. Finally. (correlated with or deconvolved by) the pilot various mechanical and hydraulic consignal used to drive the actuator. An a ­ ctuator generates a force between a reaction mass and a baseplate in c ­ ontact with the surface of the earth (Figure 5).200.106. That force is most often the Figure 6. electromag1. part can be purely mechanical. magnetostrictive or. tric. distortion) relative to the ideal vibrator described in the following paragraph. see Terms of Use at http://library. Name Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. or magnetostrictive. (stroke and flow limits.seg. applied between a baseplate in contact with the most often. The force generator is Fd. “the spring s2 represents the means of supporting the reaction mass [M2 ] 100  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers .159. part weight of the vehicle insulated by air 2. piezoeleccompress the recorded data (Figure 6). Principle of the seismic vibrator. In practice (Figure 7). an additional constant hold-down force is applied to the baseplate to allow the applied force to exceed the combined weight of the reaction mass and the baseplate.

when it is planted firmly on the ground. Mechanical model of the vibrator and electrical analog. and distortion). Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. mass with capacitance. damping losses in the isolating pads D3 are negligible. a static force is applied downward to the baseplate. Z1 + Z4 (3) i1 M3 ei M2 L2 Z3 i3 Z2 C2 i2 C3 Z5 Z4 R3 R1 L3 C1 s2 Fd s3 M1 s1 D1 D3 Vi C VM VB L R i e Mechanical model eb L1 M 1/s 1/D Force Velocity Electrical analog Figure 8. After Lerwill. Using the electrical analog. Lerwill (1981) computes the impedances: 1 ˆ Êw Z4 = j Á ˜. vibrationally insulated by air bags acting as a mechan­ ical low-pass filter. . Used by ­ permission of CGGVeritas. which is used to simplify calculations. To increase the maximum possible force. Mechanical and hydraulic constraints result in a degraded actual behavior relative to the theoretical vibrator (stroke. is represented by mass M1 supported by the spring s1 and dashpot D1 both of which represent our simple model of the earth” (Lerwill. In practice.1 ˜ w¯ Ë . p. the ground force cannot exceed the weight of the reaction mass. High-force vibrator.org/ in its neutral position. and viscosity with ­ resistance. 506). In practice.seg. . flow limits. . see Terms of Use at http://library. The baseplate. s w M Ë 3 3¯        (1) Figure 7. Figure 4. It is usually the weight of the carrying vehicle. (2)           Z5 = Z1 Z4 . 1981.106. ­ Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  101 . (b) ­ Electric analog. with mere gravity coupling. stiffness with inductance. the usual dashpot is omitted for the sake of simplicity .159. Force is associated with current. Z1 =        1 s ˆ Ê D1 + j Á w M1 .200. (a) Mechanical model. The mass of the ­ vehicle is represented by M3 and its isolating pad by s3. voltage with velocity. 1981.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192.

seg.” which is the term sometimes found in the seismic literature.1 + Á w ( w / ) ( / w ) s 1 M 3 3 ˜ q = tan -1 Á ˜. the method of Sallas and Weber (1982) was accepted universally (see discussion below). 102  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . and pseudorandom signals Chirps or sweeps The most common pilot signal used in vibroseis operation is the sweep.j Á .200. That type of signal was used in radar operations before it was used in the seismic industry. Then Lerwill (1981) could derive the relationship between the drive force Fd and the baseplate and reaction mass velocities: VB = Fd Z3 Z5 .159. Z2 (6) VM = Fd Z3 . 1 ˜ Á D1 ¯ Ë (8) These equations allowed Lerwill (1981) to compare adequately the theoretical response of a vibrator to actual measurements made in the field. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. The linear sweep is the most common. A few years later. in particular some exchanges with Sallas and Weber (1982). see Terms of Use at http://library.106. who contest his conclusion that reaction-mass acceleration should be used to control the vibrator. Vibrator signals Chirps. Radar engineers have called it a “chirp.jÁ 2 ˜ Z2 Ëw¯ (4) (5) Z3 = . it is a sinusoid with a continuously varying frequency. sweeps. Ë w M2 ˜ ¯ 1 1 Ês ˆ .Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. Lerwill’s work triggered some passionate debates in the geophysical community. Z2w M2 (7) The phase difference between the baseplate velocity and the force applied to the earth is given by s 1 ˆ Ê w M1 . They propose a different method. Essentially.org/ Ê 1 ˆ Z2 = Z5 . Its frequency is a linear function of time.

f2 = 12 Hz. and f is frequency. and f2 = 12. The relationship of phase versus time is a parabola.f1 ) ˜ + f0 . the sweep is given by Ê Ê ˆ t2 ˆ S(t ) = a0 cos Á 2p Á f1t + ( f 2 . Used by permission of CGGVeritas. By definition. 2L ¯ Ë (10) where φ0 is the phase at time t = 0. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. and Figure 10c depicts its power spectrum. Figure 10a represents the sweep corresponding to the linear sweep in Figure 9 and to the sweep S(t) in equation 11 with L = 6. then Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192.106.200. L is the sweep duration. the power spectrum shows ripples.5.5 Hz and ending at f2 = 12 Hz. Frequency and phase of a linear sweep: f1 = 1. The autocorrelation shows a significant amount of energy away from time zero. starting at f = f1 for t = 0 and ending at f = f2 for t = L.org/ t f = f1 + ( f 2 .159. (a) Frequency increases linearly with time. starting at f1 = 1. the relationship of ­ frequency versus time is a straight line. If a0 is the peak amplitude. ­ Figure 10b represents its autocorrelation. (b) Phase-versustime curve is a parabola.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source For a linear sweep. the sweep usually is multiplied by a smooth taper function at the beginning and end of the sweep.f1 ) ˜ + f0 ˜ .seg. L = 6 s. Figure 11 represents the result of such a multiplication applied to the sweep of a) Hz 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 0 Frequency 1 2 3 Phase 4 5 6 Figure 9. f1 = 1. b) Radians 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 0 1 2 3 Time (s) 4 5 6 Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  103 . see Terms of Use at http://library. and thus the phase is given by Ê t2 ˆ f = 2p Á f1t + ( f 2 . if t represents time. 2L ¯ Ë Ë ¯ (11) Figure 9 represents the frequency and phase of a linear sweep of length L = 6 s. L (9) The frequency in Hertz is the derivative of the phase (normalized by 2π).f1 ) .5 Hz. To attenuate off-center energy on the autocorrelation and ripples on the spectrum.

Linear sweep with taper.159.org/ Figure 10. (b) Autocorrelation. (a) Uncorrelated sweep. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright.seg.f1 ) ¯ A0 = (12) where Si is the sampling interval. (a) Uncorrelated sweep. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. The mathematical properties of the sweep are very close to the properties of a sinusoid of finite length. 2Si Á Ë ( f 2 . f 2 . If adequate tapers are used. (b) Autocorrelation.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. Linear sweep without taper.f1 (13) 104  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . The phase of its Fourier transform is F( f ) = -p 2 f 2 . Used by permission of CGGVeritas.f1 L. see Terms of Use at http://library. (c) Amplitude spectrum of autocorrelation. the amplitude of its Fourier transform in the non­ tapered zone is a0 Ê L ˆ ˜. Amplitude a) 1 Signal 0 –1 0 1 2 3 Time (s) 4 5 6 Amplitude b) 200 0 –2 –1 Autocorrelation –200 –3 0 Time (s) 1 2 3 Decibels c) 60 40 20 0 0 5 10 15 Amplitude spectrum 20 25 30 Frequency (Hz) 35 40 45 50 Figure 10.106. (c) Amplitude spectrum of autocorrelation.200. Amplitude a) 1 Signal 0 –1 0 1 2 3 Time (s) 4 5 6 Amplitude b) 200 0 –2 –1 Autocorrelation –200 –3 0 Time (s) 1 2 3 Decibels c) 60 40 20 0 0 Amplitude spectrum 5 10 15 20 25 30 Frequency (Hz) 35 40 45 50 Figure 11.

200.159. The basic parameter that controls nonlinear sweep is the sweep rate. Advances in electronic equipment have made nonlinear sweeps available to tilt the signal spectrum upward or downward.106.24 dB/Hz 0 2 4 6 Time (s) 8 10 12 0 20 40 60 Frequency (Hz) 80 Figure 12. see Terms of Use at http://library. The generalized formula for the amplitude spectrum of a (constant amplitude) sweep is A0 ( f ) = a0 Ê 1 ˆ . Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  105 . (a) Frequencyversus-time curves. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. and a) 80 70 60 b) 60 55 50 Frequency (Hz) 40 30 20 10 0 Amplitude (dB) 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 Amplification –0. linear sweeps were the only option available with current equipment.f1 L (16) is constant. Logarithmic sweeps with various negative and positive amplifications. 2Si Á Ë Sr( f ) ˜ ¯ (17) Figure 12 represents sweep power spectra corresponding to various increasing or decreasing sweep rates.org/ 2 A c = a0 L .08 dB/Hz Amplification 0.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source The maximum of its autocorrelation is Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192.seg.16 dB/Hz Amplification –0. 2Si (14) Until the late 1970s. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. (b) Power spectra.16 dB/Hz Amplification 0.08 dB/Hz Amplification 0 dB/Hz Amplification 0. Figure 12a represents the frequency-versus-time curves. Sr(t ) = f 2 . dt (15) For a linear sweep. the derivative of the sweep frequency relative to time: Sr(t ) = df (t ) .

sometimes too short.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. A = -20 Log10 Sr -20 π t0 = . Often.106. (a) Frequency-versustime-curve. t0 is the target time. The problem often encountered with these types of sweeps can be seen in Figure 12. For that purpose. M ­ odern vibrator-control ­ electronics give full flexibility for shaping of sweep ­ amplitude.org/ Figure 12b gives the corresponding power spectra.159. Q0 ¯ Ë (18) where Sr 0 is the sweep rate in the case of no absorption. Conversely. The sweep represented in black in Figure 13 is designed specifically to support that point. Sweeps with an exponential sweep rate (as in equation 18) are called logarithmic sweeps.seg. (b) Power spectrum. For high amplifications (or small sweep rates). but as depicted in the sweep represented in gray. The flexibility in spectrum shaping is limited only by the number of frequencies of the sweep range made available in the Fourier domain by the sweep length. the time spent on amplified ­ frequencies becomes very long. Sr0 Ln(10 ) Q 0 (19) expressed in decibels per Hertz. Muir (1982) proposes to use pseudorandom codes for his sign-bit recorder. they are described by their amplification. In the late Figure 13. Sweep amplitude shaping. the sweep rate must be t ˆ Ê Sr( f ) = Sr0 exp Á -π f 0 ˜ . the time spent on nonamplified frequencies becomes very short. Pseudorandom signals Researchers experimented with other signals early on. see Terms of Use at http://library. The original justification of non­ linear sweep was to provide extra energy to compensate for absorption. it is more common to amplify low frequencies (to compensate for mechanical limitations and source radiation properties) and high frequencies (to compensate for absorption) of the signal. and Q0 is the corresponding quality factor.200. a) 80 70 60 Frequency (Hz) 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 2 4 6 8 Time (s) 10 12 Amplitude (dB) b) 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 0 20 40 60 Frequency (Hz) 80 106  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . Cunningham (1979) evaluates various alternate signals to reduce autocorrelation lobes or 60-Hz contamination. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Used by permission of CGGVeritas.

2 Figure 14. besides the unconventional behavior of the vibrator.2 0. is that they result in a 50% loss in generated energy and contain a large amount of side-lobe energy (Figure 14).1 0. and therefore it is of lower and safer amplitude.seg... simultaneous vibroseis acquisition on the other.15 0. digital-control electronics made pseudorandom signals (curiously.106. One advantage of pseudorandom signals is that they allow the vibrator to be used closer to buildings and other constructions because the low-frequency content (which constitutes the major threat) is spread over the entire duration of the signal.3 0.25 Time (s) 0. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright.4 0. A shift register generates a maximum-length pseudorandom binary sequence. Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  107 . One possible implementation (Burger et al. Pseudorandom signal.1 0 Time (s) 0.1 0.200. 1992) is to use a binary shift register to generate a maximumlength pseudorandom binary sequence (PRBS). Pseudorandom signal (fragment) a) 0 0 0 0.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. The same property results in a reduced demand for peak hydraulic flow to generate lower frequencies.45 0.35 0. which is filtered subsequently to the desired frequency spectrum. (c) Amplitude spectra. 2008).159.5 b) Correlation by pilot c) 50 40 Decibels Power spectrum 0 30 20 Pilot Weighted sum 0 50 100 Frequency (Hz) 150 0 10 –0. Pseudorandom signals are enjoying a new popularity with the search for lower frequencies on one hand and the advent of large-scale. The major criticism of such signals. (a) Generated signal (black) and corresponding force (gray).05 0. (b) Correlated pilot and force. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. The PRBS output of the shift register then is filtered to the desired bandwidth.org/ 1980s. New signals with lower side-lobe contamination and less energy loss are proposed (Sallas et al. sometimes also called random sweeps) as easy to use as conventional sweeps. see Terms of Use at http://library.2 –0.

5 3 3. (c) The four downhole wavelets divided by the drive.3 0.05 b) 0. and 80%.35 0 0. the velocity is its derivative (thus showing a 90° phase shift). Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. They are correlated by the pilot signal. The weighted sum provides an approximation of the vibrator signal or. F is force.seg. V is velocity. a) 0.2 0.5 2 2. Sallas and Weber (1982) show that the weighted sum of the reaction mass and baseplate accelerations is an adequate representation of the ground force and should be used for vibrator control.55 0. Data courtesy of CGGVeritas.200.45 0.5 4 4. see Terms of Use at http://library. assumed to be similar to the reference.25 0. Figure 15c represents the four downhole wavelets. more precisely. The vibrator control system is supposed to make the weighted sum as close as possible to the pilot signal. 60%. Here. The source is a single vibrator gener­ ating a linear sweep of 3 to 73 Hz.6 0. the time-shifted particle displacement is proportional to the stress generated by a disk of finite radius vibrating normally to the surface of the half-space.4 c) 0.5 1 1.159.75 0 20 40 60 80 Drive (%) 5 108  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . of its displacement component. and Figure 15. a semi-infinite homogeneous elastic medium behaves like a spring.15 0. Vibroseis signal estimate.55 0. The force. Their amplitudes are identical. In other words. (a) Expected wavelets. and the acceleration (its second derivative) has gone through a second 90° phase shift.106.5 km in a vertical well. the displacement is in phase with the force.5 0. They are all virtually identical and in phase with the pilot as desired. is a zero-phase wavelet.7 0. The experiment is repeated four times with four drives (amplitude percentages). (b) Weighted sum divided by the drive. lossless elastic half-space in the far field.1 0. Figure 15 shows the phase relationship between the ground force estimated by the weighted sum and the far-field signal represented by a downhole wavelet ob­ served at a depth of 1. Figure 15b represents the four weighted sums divided by the corresponding drives.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Relationship between vibrator motion and far-field signal Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192.5 5 0 20 40 60 80 Drive (%) 5 F X V A 0.5 0. Linear sweep of 3 to 73 Hz. The data are recorded by geophones (which measure particle velocity) with the conventional polarity that an upward motion of the geophone case translates into a negative number on tape and a white trough on the section. of 20%. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. and A is acceleration. In their comments to Lerwill. 40%.org/ Miller and Pursey (1954) show that for a homogeneous. Figure 15a represents the correlated theoretical wavelets. X is displacement.65 0. According to Miller and Pursey (1954).6 0.

on the downgoing wave extracted from a repeated walkaway VSP ( Figure 17).106. For instance. Used by the left was a hard concrete permission of CGGVeritas. Figure 16a Weighted sum b) represents downhole wavelets observed between 120 m and 160 m vertically below the vibrator. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. The distortion is the effect of fast changes in surface (or near-surface) conditions in that area.seg. Figure 16b represents the corresponding weighted sums. in good agreement with the theory. However.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Downhole wavelet their phases are very close to a) the phase of the velocity wavelet shown in Figure 15a. The experiConcrete — various drives Gravel — various drives ment used various drive Figure 16. That difference was attributed essentially to an accidental change in the vibrator settings. That is not always the case. and the surface corresponding to the data on the right was made of soft gravel. but it appears that in many areas. Data courtesy of CGGVeritas. to the extent that they might appear in opposite polarity (offsets 264 and 284 in F ­ igure 18). 15 geophones were installed permanently in an observation well at depths of 416 to 556 m. The interval between vibrated points (VPs) was 10 m. although the weighted sums are not affected significantly by the change in surface condition. see Terms of Use at http://library. The surface wavelets recorded on a concrete pad (left) and 2 m away on corresponding to the data on gravel (right).200. (b) Corresponding weighted sums. Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192.159. Downhole wavelets and weighted sums at two levels at two locations sepalocations recorded with various drive levels.org/ Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  109 . ­ In this particular example (Figure 17). The consistency within a common source position is as remarkable as the differences from one surface position to another. the amplitude relationship between the weighted sum and the downhole wavelet looks very linear. for instance. The polarity of the downhole geophone was opposite to that of the conventional polarity. the variation in surface and nearsurface conditions constitutes the main cause of discrepancy by far. I shall show that there are many other reasons for the actual vibrator signal to be different from the weighted sum. The dependency of the vibroseis signal on surface condition can be found in many situations. (a) Downhole rated by 2 m. On each of those locations taken separately. ­ What these two pictures have in common is the distortion that can be seen in the signal time and shape at an offset of 300 m from the well (boxed area in the “autumn” image). the amplitude of the downhole wavelet is doubled when the vibrator shakes on the soft surface. pad. Figure 18 shows the downgoing wave on each geophone of the shotpoint (SP) in the boxed area of Figure 17. The most obvious difference between the “spring” and “au­ tumn” pictures is a general difference in amplitude of approximately 2 dB.

out of the 200 kW generated by the vibrator engine. “Much of the 200–300 KW generated by the engine and converted into motion via the hydraulics is wasted as heat. see Terms of Use at http://library. His result appears in Figure 19. p. What remains goes into the production of surface waves.106. 1956).Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow 10 m Energy partition As stated by Sallas (2010. where absorption is much higher than in consolidated rocks where reflected P-waves have propagated.006%. At first sight. Repeated vibroseis walkaway VSP.seg.” Using the equations of Miller and Pursey (1954. SV waves.159. Most of the energy (twothirds) is converted into Rayleigh waves. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. The first part of the downgoing wave is a good representation of the vibrator signal. The explanation of the contradiction could be that Rayleigh waves propagate in unconsolidated near-surface material. the high-frequency component of the Rayleigh waves has been attenuated significantly. Used by permission of Storengy. 110  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . Therefore. Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192.200. only 12 W are radiated as P-wave energy. the phase of this wavelet is close to –90°. The vibrator control used the weighted-sum signal. Sallas computed the partition of energy generated by a 200-kN vibrator on sand. Those of us who have started to look into lower frequencies know how true the energy dependency on the frequency square really is. The explanation of this apparent contradiction lies in two factors — absorption (which explains our difficulty in recording high frequencies) and the fact that we used to limit our low-­ frequency expectations to above 8 or 10 Hz. The efficiency of “the most sophisticated energy source with the greatest possibilities for development” of Lerwill (1979. 526) is on the order of 0. 15–16). In this example. p. The second observation is that radiated energy is proportional to the frequency squared. Data are recorded with geophones that produce a negative number (white on the plot) for an upgoing particle displacement. My last remark regarding the curves in Figure 19 regards the order of magnitudes. That seems to contradict our experience that ground roll is seen mainly in low frequencies. That observation again seems to contradict our experience in that we find it more difficult to generate and record high frequencies than low frequencies. and finally a small amount of P-waves. we might be surprised to see that the partition does not depend on frequency. and data were correlated by the pilot (with no phase shift). At 10 Hz.org/ 416 m 10 m 556 m Spring Autumn 300 m Figure 17.

Any permanent deformation of the source environment requires energy.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Repeatability of the vibrator signal Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. Obviously. The vibroseis technique helped land seismic repeatability to match and sometimes exceed marine repeatability. From Sallas. The seismograms are the extracted downgoing wavelets using a median filter.200. Fast-changing source wavelets on the walkaway VSP shown in Figure 17. Offshore. Used by permission of Storengy. Causes of nonrepeatability The first cause of nonrepeatability for a seismic source is the exceeding of elasticity limits. The complexity of the traditional seismic experiment using a buried charge of explosives as a source and recorded in a noisy and spatially variable environment is the main cause of our historical tolerance for nonrepeatability in land seismic. repeatability also is needed in data processing. which assumes repeatability of seismic measurements (see Chapter 6).159. One obvious reason is the emergence of 4D technology. that tolerance is much lower today. The contrast be­­ tween surface consistency and variability is striking. Because the vibroseis source generates lower instantaneous energy. Figure 19. Partition of power of a single 200-kN vibrator on sand. however. Figure 18. A single vibrator positioned on a blacktop road repeated the sweep of 10 to 200 Hz 60 Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  111 . and therefore.106. Used by permission of EAGE.seg. Most often. 2010. One of the most powerful tools in data processing is averaging. it will work better on repeatable data. How can we find a theory to predict the outcome of a nonrepeatable experiment? In the seismic case. see Terms of Use at http://library. however. Repeatability is one of the most desirable properties of any scientific experiment.org/ Repeatability has become a growing concern in the geophysical industry. There is a more fundamental reason. deformation is a cause of nonrepeatability. Figure 20 shows the result of an experiment to evaluate vibroseis repeatability. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. it spends less energy on permanent deformations. such deformation still is observed. Most of the radiated energy consists of shear waves and surface waves.

(a) SP 59.seg. 2006. Reflections have been attenuated significantly. represented with a gain of 0 dB. Deconvolution by the weighted sum also was tried as a way to equalize the signal of the two records. A second cause of nonrepeatability is the complexity of the vibrator and therefore the fatigue or failure of its components.org/ Figure 20.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. Vibroseis repeatability evaluation. Figure 20c is the difference between the same records after convolving record 60 by a 1D operator designed to minimize the difference. times with a 75% drive level. without releasing the static pressure on its baseplate. Harmonization of SP 60 consists of the application of a 1D operator. and Figure 20b is the difference between the fifty-ninth and sixtieth records multiplied by 20. were repeated at the same location on a road. represented with a gain of 26 dB.200. maximizing its resemblance with SP 59. All waves seen on one record can be seen on the difference with their amplitude divided by 20. Despite its imperfections. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Data from Faure and Spitz. On 112  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . Figure 20a represents the fifty-ninth record. Damage to the environment (the road) was relatively limited but could be observed visually at the end of the experiment. (c) SP 59 – harmonized SP 60. represented with a gain of 26 dB. Sixty vibroseis sweeps. see Terms of Use at http://library. who plans periodic equipment maintenance and organizes adequate quality control of the system. That issue is addressed by the vibrator manufacturer with design improvements and by the operator.159. which means the weighted sum could not account for the difference between the fifty-ninth and sixtieth records. That experience shows how difficult it is to not exceed the elasticity limit and the corresponding effect on nonrepeatability.106. It also shows a way to reduce that effect by application of a linear operator. numbered 1 through 60. the weighted sum itself is the best quality-control indicator for that purpose. That approach failed because the difference between the weighted sums was extremely small at all frequencies. Used by permission of TOTAL. (b) SP 59 – SP 60.

That is by far the most significant cause of nonrepeatability.200. It was fed by a high-voltage sweep of 10 to 300 Hz.. It is indicated by the light gray band shown in Figure 21a. They demonstrate that very low levels of energy can result in extreme repeatability. (c) Difference with average multiplied by 100. weighted sums are recorded for each vibration of each vibrator and subsequently are analyzed for quality control. Extreme repeatability using a very small buried vibrator. How can repeatability be improved? One way to improve repeatability would be to reduce instantaneous energy at each point of contact between the vibrator and the ground. (a) Shotpoint data averaged over a 13-day period.106. Figure 21 represents a repeated seismogram and its variation relative to the average. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. the variation was one-fifth a) Average shotpoint 0 b) Repeated offset (195 m) c) Difference with average (× 100) 100 Time (ms) 200 300 400 500 0 45 90 135 180 225 Offset (m) 1 3 5 7 Days 9 11 13 1 3 5 7 Days 9 11 13 Figure 21. The last cause of nonrepeatability is the most difficult to deal with and has not been addressed satisfactorily as of this writing — variability of surface conditions. but it would result in a loss of signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) which could be compensated for only by a dramatic increase in vibration time. albeit expensive and imperfect. The selected seismogram was recorded by a buried geophone at a depth of 20 m.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. Figure 21c is the difference between each of the seismograms and its average. and it used an estimated 12 W of electric power.159. The vibrator they used was a stack of piezoelectric ceramics inserted between two coupling plates and cemented vertically at a depth of 50 m. Such a solution is pursued experimentally by Schisselé et al. (2009). From Schisselé at al. Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  113 . 2009. That can be achieved by reducing the total force.org/ many crews today. way to reduce the effect of surface-condition variability is to use permanent seismic systems. see Terms of Use at http://library. Figure 21b represents 13 daily averages of the seismogram. During a span of 13 days. (b) Daily average of offset 195 m — area in gray in part (a).seg. A possible. Used by permission of Estelle Schisselé Rebel.

The second solution. signal is proportional to the number of terms. some damage to the environment occurs. honors the assumption of linearity more than many other seismic sources do. the mechanical properties of the rocks no longer are affected by weatherrelated variations. Assumptions First. An investigation of a possible threshold was described in Chapter 4. Next. I shall make a few assumptions that will be discussed. Vibroseis signal and noise Chapter 4 showed that summations of signal and noise have different properties. ambient noise measured on a given receiver at different times most often shows a very low degree of correlation. at any given frequency. I assume that in an ideal seismic sum. The assumption that in an ideal seismic sum. is made difficult by insufficient stiffness of the baseplate or by resolution loss that would result from use of a larger source array. That fact is certainly true for any seismic source. If we can increase S/N. in the section entitled “Order of magnitude. Whether there is a lower limit to the assumption is not known. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. That assumption simply means that after possible alignment. at any given frequency. p. Therefore. is only a function of the signal-to-noise ratio. I assume that in an ideal seismic sum. 1981. to increase the surface of contact with the ground. ambient noise is proportional to the square root of the number of terms might seem quite restrictive. To analyze the leverage. Note that in the above statement. Following the experiment described in Chapter 4. Away from the earth surface. I will derive a law describing the behavior of signal and ambient noise in the imaging process for vibroseis data. the vibroseis technique provides some leverage on S/N. Damage is not linear. Finally. as noted above. “Is there a threshold below which wave propagation stops?” remains unanswered. 259). I assume that wave propagation is linear.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. signal wavelength is large compared with the array formed by the summed seismograms. ambient noise is proportional to the square root of the number of terms. That assumption has an obvious upper limit: When a very large signal is generated. However.200.106. It is worth repeating here that the vibroseis source. the question.” No threshold was found.org/ that of a conventional vibrator between two consecutive sweeps. In fact. “[t]he greatest depth from which seismic reflections can be picked with reasonable certainty” (Sheriff.159. at any given frequency. 114  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . see Terms of Use at http://library. noise is not restricted to ambient noise — it is taken in a more general sense. A consequence of that absence is that penetration. What makes the vibroseis source special is the fact that signal at any frequency can be generated in a longer or shorter period of time and that noise also is recorded during that time. I shall assume there is no lower limit to the linearity of wave propagation. From those assumptions. that assumption is very similar to the assumption that ambient noise has constant rms amplitude and is uncorrelated. As far as I know. we can see to lower depths.seg. with its relatively modest amplitude. It must be noted that a large part of the repeatability enhancement is associated with the depth of operation of the source and (to a lesser degree) of the receiver.

Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Signal and noise behavior Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192.org/ In Chapter 4. signal and noise will refer to signal and ambient noise per unit of surface. and Sr(f ) is the sweep rate df/dt. reproduced below): SSE( f ) = Ss( f ) SD * NR * RA . and noise. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. I showed that the reference in which to evaluate signal and noise in the seismic image is not the arbitrary 3D bin but the physical unit of surface. Here. It also was shown that at any given frequency. Sr( f ) (22) Ss( f ) = Pf D Nv 1 . For the same reason and following assumption three above. In vibroseis operations. Figure 22 illustrates the relationship among sweep rate.159. It ­ Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  115 . That can be expressed by the equations Ê 1 ˆ Signal( f ) ª Pf D Nv Á Ë Sr( f ) ˜ ¯ (21) and Noise( f ) ª Consequently. source strength Ss(f ) can be expressed as a function of the source parameters. Proportionality to the time spent is a natural consequence ­ of linearity: A signal of length L can be seen as L signals of unit length. at any given frequency. D is the drive. Nv is the number of vibrators. using the above three assumptions. 1 . S/N was proportional to the signal strength estimator (SSE) (equation 12 of Chapter 4. and SD is the source density (number of shotpoints per surface unit). see Terms of Use at http://library. signal is proportional to the ground force applied at that frequency and to the time spent emitting that frequency (inverse sweep rate).200. Sr( f ) (23) where Pf is the vibrator peak force. the signal is a logarithmic sweep of length L = 10 s with an amplification of 0. NR is the number of receiver per shotpoint. In the figure. noise is proportional to the square root of the time spent emitting that frequency (inverse sweep rate. Those signals are summed subsequently.seg.106. signal. From now on. The solid black curve represents the amplitude spectrum of the correlation of the signal by the sweep. It is parallel (and therefore proportional) to the inverse sweep rate (dashed black line). for the sake of simplicity. and of random phase. and the noise is a sum of sinusoids of equal amplitude. The solid gray curve represents the amplitude spectrum of the correlation of the noise by the sweep. (20) where RA is the area of the receiver station. at any given frequency. of frequencies multiple of 1/L. or dwell). From assumptions one and two above. Ss(f ) is the source strength. and it usually depends on frequency. It is the amplitude of the far-field signal generated by a single source.25 dB/Hz.

Safety and environment This is not the place to discuss safety and environment at length. Although the threat is usually lower than it would be with an impulsive ­ source. Administrators.159. It seems fair to say that wherever a vibrator can go. to the drive. water wells. Technology Vibrator design must take various constraints into consideration. and geophysical contractors have set up their own safety regulations. the ratio of signal to ambient noise in the seismic image is (1) proportional to the peak force. and other constructions. Substituting equation 23 into equation 20 provides the vibroseis signal-strength estimate. Solid lines represent the amplitude spectrum of the correlation of the sweep (in black) and correlation of white noise (in gray) by the sweep. fields. sand dunes. but they all have the same goal. Its use is limited. Most often. Vibrator limits Vibroseis has been used in many environments — roads. and (3) inversely proportional to the square root of the sweep rate. Sr( f ) (24) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Figure 22. The size of the zones depends on the risk associated with the potential damage and on the force applied by the vibrator. some exclusion zones have to be defined around pipelines. Those constraints result in limitations that generally can be expressed as the maximum force that can be generated at a given frequency. The signal is a 10-s logarithmic sweep with an amplification of 0. Sallas (2010) summarizes 116  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . but they should be mentioned. In vibroseis operations. it can shake. and cities worldwide. by two factors — safety and technology. They might differ more or less.org/ Signal spectrum Inverse sweep rate Noise spectrum Inverse sweep rate is parallel (and therefore proportional) to the square root of the inverse sweep rate ( ­ dashed gray line). With some modifications. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. The S/N in vibroseis operations is proportional to SSE( f ) = Pf D Nv SD Nr Ra . frequency also is taken into account. arctic ice. and to the number of vibrators in the source array. Figure 23 gives an example of exclusion-zone policy for a particular operator. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. however. gravel planes.25 dB/Hz.200. very stringent rules apply.106. see Terms of Use at http://library. Sometimes. at any frequency of the signal bandwidth.seg.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow 150 145 140 135 130 125 120 Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. Low-frequency surface waves present a threat to constructions and buildings. buildings. not the least of which is cost. (2) proportional to the square root of the source density and of the total receiver area. petroleum operators. Relationship of signal and noise to sweep rate. it has been used in wells and in the sea. Dotted lines represent the inverse sweep rate (black) and the square root of the inverse sweep rate (gray).

Increasing the stroke would require a different. ­ the constraints.200. The second low-frequency constraint is the large oil-flow demand necessary to move the mass. is that the force should not exceed the hold-down weight. Used by permission of CGGVeritas.159. Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  117 . Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. First. The most limiting constraint. which essentially applies at all frequencies. the hydraulic pump can be assisted by properly designed accumulators.org/ Figure 23. more expensive design. if the sweep rate becomes too low. A third limitation concerning the lift isolation can be seen in ­ Figure 24. Increasing capacity would require larger pumps and more powerful engines. mass displacement is inversely proportional to the frequency squared. it is larger for low frequencies. to avoid decoupling of the baseplate. therefore. Figure 24 gives the frequency range in which the various constraints apply. That need is contradicted by the limited mass stroke. which would not reduce vibrator cost. A further ­ significant increase of this weight is not foreseen in the near future because of the difficulty of moving such heavy equipment. see Terms of Use at http://library. Earlier. Safety distances for vibroseis operations.000 lbs. Low-frequency constraints Two main constraints limit vibrator use at low frequencies. system capacity can be exceeded.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. To fulfill the transient part of the demand. I mentioned that this force has increased over time by a factor of 10 to reach 90. The hold-down force is the weight of the vibrator.106.5 Hz). Operators have set up safety rules for the protection of buildings and other constructions. It applies at lower frequency than the other two constraints (below 1. However.seg. The International Association of Geophysical Contractors has published recommendations in this domain.

Manufacturers are adjusting their designs to address that issue. in the paragraph on lowfrequency constraints. Caradec and Buttin. New valves are being designed that should push the limitation a little higher. That property results in a loss of 6 dB per octave when frequency decreases. geophysicists have made many attempts to extend the vibroseis bandwidth. 2010. Furthermore. From Sallas. is a concern that manufacturers have taken seriously (Wei. The relatively limited success of those sweeps likely is related to the fact that S/N is proportional to the square root of the inverse sweep rate. which can be even more severe. Increasing the stiffness of the structure. The second constraint is the lack of stiffness of the driven structure. but it might be difficult to exploit the full capacity of the hydraulic system above 100 Hz. below a certain frequency threshold).Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Hold-down Mass stroke Moog pilot valve Driven structure Supply pressure 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. and mass stroke limit ­ amplitudes at low frequencies. Lift insulation (air bags). 118  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . 2008). I noted above (in the section on vibrator motion and far-field signal) that particle displacement (not its velocity) is proportional to force applied to the ground. Consequently. Frequency (Hz) High-frequency constraints Three constraints limit the vibrator output in the high end of the spectrum. and supply pressure limit amplitudes at high f ­requencies. 2010. is 12 dB per octave.159. On the low-frequency side. Getting around limitations Limitations on vibrator systems are aggravated by wave-transmission limitations. it is extremely difficult to fight attenuation. Those very high pressures also can result in cavitation damages in the vibrator hydraulic circuit.106.org/ Flow Lift isolation If the frequency is lower than the air-bag frequency. hydraulic pump flow. Its result is an overestimation of the ground force by the weighted sum at high frequency and consequently a lower output. see Terms of Use at http://library. which first was used to increase high-frequency output when logarithmic sweeps were introduced. The last constraint is on the differential pressure in the actuator. Those two factors add up to 18 extra decibels per octave needed to maintain a flat spectrum when going toward very low f requencies. when displacement is limited by the maximum stroke (that is.200. The most obvious solution is to increase the vibration time. when frequency decreases.seg. The first is the flow limit of conventional (Moog) servovalves introduced in the 1980s. I noted that mass displacement is inversely proportional to frequency squared. ­ Vibrator output has been increased significantly above 60 Hz. which could approach the supply pressure and limit the vibrator output. Figure 24. baseplate stiffness. the carrier structure starts to resonate. the reduction in force. particularly of the baseplate. ­ On the high-frequency side. with varying success. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Despite such a severe adversity. Vibrator-system constraints. Pilot-valve design. Used by permission of EAGE.

which can be detected. Consequently. more likely. where m is an integer. harmonics of those subharmonics also are observed at frequencies (n /m)f i. The same 4 Hz used to extend a spectrum end from 80 to 84 Hz will produce an insignificant gain but does require similar effort.org/ Therefore. of the receiver coupling.106. and subharmonic distortion at frequencies f i /m. Vibrator distortion is at least one order of magnitude above the distortion of the receiver or. Another cause of distortion is the rocking motion of the vibrator assembly. which is responsible for subharmonic distortion. where n is an integer. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Also note that the existence of subharmonic distortion was considered at one time to be a violation of the causality principle because the pilot sweep was assumed to be the single original cause of the vibrator motion. Bagaini [2007] and Baeten et al. An example of this relatively complex phenomenon will be shown later after a brief discussion of some elementary properties of harmonic distortion.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. this means that if f i is the input frequency (the frequency of the pilot signal). Distortion In the discussion which follows. for instance. The chance of success seems higher because the 4 Hz used to extend a spectrum start from 8 to 4 Hz will bring a very significant gain. and the lack of stiffness of the baseplate. I shall use the convention that the harmonic of order n or nth harmonic (n ≥ 2) corresponds to the fundamental frequency multiplied by n. Mathematically. Note that when subharmonics are observed. [2010]). Before looking at this relatively complex phenomenon. analysis will be restricted to harmonic and subharmonic distortions. Properties of harmonic components Figure 25 represents a fundamental sweep. I will discuss briefly some elementary properties of harmonic distortion. In the earth The third contributor to distortion is wave propagation in the near surface. harmonics of orders two through five. That assumption clearly was contradicted by experiment. To the left of the sweep is the subharmonic of order one-half. there is no harmonic 1. Evidence of that distortion is given by the intermodulation sometimes observed between two vibrators located side by side. The same cure is being applied to low frequencies (see. and to its right. it is attributed to a variation in propagation velocity during the compression-decompression cycle. denoted F.seg.200. the output (rather than containing only frequency f i. if a gain of two is needed. Most of the corresponding distortion is even. which therefore cannot be evaluated. as implied by linearity) also contains harmonic distortion at frequencies nf i. In the vibrator The larger contributor to distortion in vibroseis operations is the vibrator itself. see Terms of Use at http://library. The culprits are the main valve. which is responsible for most odd harmonic distortion.159. sweep time must be increased by a factor of four. All Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  119 .

159. the time overlap between successive windows was selected generously. Figure 26 represents the correlation of the various harmonic components by the ­ f undamental. Such a transform. whose frequency increases with time. harmonics are represented with the same amplitude as the fundamental. Correlation of the harmonic components by the fundamental. In Figure 27. consists of a Fourier transform in a sliding window. –4 –3 –2 –1 Time 0 1 2 3 4 H0. with frequency multiplied by 2. Used by permission of CGGVeritas.5 F H2 H3 H4 H5 Figure 25. the harmonic would be rejected in positive time and therefore would be much more cumbersome. one subharmonic (H0.5. On the contrary. see Terms of Use at http://library.5 F H2 H3 H4 H5 Figure 26. downsweeps reject harmonics in positive time. It is the reason why upsweeps are used almost systematically. Note that the subhar­ monic energy of the upsweep is found in positive time. The energy corresponding to the one-half subharmonic is found in positive time close to time zero. H4. The energy corresponding to harmonics two through five is found in negative time. In general.seg. their amplitude is a frac­ tion (one-tenth to one-fourth) of the fundamental amplitude. with frequency multiplied by 0. In addition to the fundamental (F). farther from time zero for higher-order harmonics. respectively) are represented. H3. 3. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. subharmonics are observed mainly in uneven terrain when the vibrator does not stand flat on the ground and has a tendency to rock. Successive Fourier transforms are displayed side by side along a time axis. A convenient way to look at harmonic distortion is to use the time-frequency transform. and 5. which can be seen in Figure 27.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow 0 1 2 3 4 H0.106. to provide a continuous picture of the various Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. and H5. subharmonic energy is found at positive time and harmonic energy at negative time. The property of harmonics to be rejected in negative time is specific to upsweeps.org/ 120  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers Time . 4. For a downsweep.5) and four harmonic components (H2. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Fundamental sweep and some of its harmonics. For an upsweep (frequencies increasing with time).200. In practice.

The vertical axis represents time from zero to the end of the sweep. Their respective harmonics also can be seen at frequencies multiple of the fundamental frequency (slopes multiple of the fundamental slope for the linear sweep and vertical lines at frequencies of 60. A very weak subharmonic also is present.106.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source harmonic components. The sweep was linear from 8 to 80 Hz.159. The first vibrator would generate a linear sweep of 5 to 85 Hz with a 90% drive. In practice. Figure 28 shows only the events that ­ are parallel to the fundamental of the sweep. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. The first family consists of events parallel to the sweep family of events but shifted in frequency by a multiple of 30 Hz. albeit with much less clarity.200. Time-frequency map of an intermodulation pattern recorded by a geophone in the vicinity of two vibrators generating different frequencies. For a linear sweep. The horizontal axis represents frequency. 0 150 140 130 5 Time (s) 120 110 10 100 90 80 15 0 50 100 150 Frequency (Hz) 200 250 70 Figure 28.seg. Time-frequency map of a weighted sum. Data courtesy of CGGVeritas. Indeed. The second family has a slope opposite to the slope of the sweep family. along with its third harmonic (harmonic 3/2). The transform shown in Figure 27 is very convenient to use ­ to analyze distortion. Harmonics two through seven can be separated easily. In practice. two other families can be seen. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. 90. the various harmonic components are found on straight lines of slopes that are multiples of the inverse sweep rate of the fundamental (dt/df ). the most energetic events on the time-frequency map are those two signals. The second vibrator would generate a constant 30-Hz sinusoid. Those two families represent intermodulation distortion between 0 0 dB Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. Besides those two families of events. Some higher-order harmonics can be seen but are separated poorly. Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  121 . Vibrator 1 generates a linear sweep of 5 to 85 Hz. Figure 28 shows only a few very low-energy events belonging to the second family. and 120 Hz for the constant-­ f requency sinusoid). see Terms of Use at http://library. and vibrator 2 generates a sinusoid with a frequency of 30 Hz. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Figure 28 is such a transform representing intermodulation distortion between two signals generated by two sideby-side vibrators. Data courtesy of CGGVeritas.org/ –10 dB H7 Time (s) H6 Fund H2 H3 H4 H5 –30 dB –20 dB –40 dB 16 0 Frequency (Hz) 250 –50 dB Figure 27.

Used by permission of CGGVeritas. and for the second record. p. In 1983. Silverman (1979). For the first record. Two records are performed. The second start Record 1 Group A + 2 + Time + – Group B + – Figure 29. and Garotta (1983) use encoding techniques to enhance the signal or to separate signal from ­ simultaneous sources. but polarity can be chosen independently. Bernhardt and Peacock (1978) propose elaborate ways of encoding the vibroseis signal. Figure 30b represents the superposition of 122  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . both groups use the same polarity. they use opposite polarity. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Summing or differencing the records separates the sources.159. Two groups of vibrators. Two groups of vibrators simultaneously generate a signal of positive or negative polarity. 1993). the sum and difference of the input frequencies.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow the signals emitted by our two vibrators. are set to generate the same signal simultaneously. Edelmann and Werner (1982).seg.org/ Simultaneous acquisition The pioneers The flexibility of the vibroseis signal and its remarkably “cooperative” attitude in doing what it is asked to do might explain the amount of creativity spent on vibroseis matters by the geophysical community.106. The sum and difference of the corresponding records contain only one source.200. which overlap. That encoding can be generalized to n fleets and n records. A and B. Two records are taken. In the second record. see Terms of Use at http://library. Figure 30a represents the various sweeps. The frequencies of the first and second families are. In the first record. Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. the economic advantage of simultaneous acquisition was not obvious to everyone. they generate signals of opposite polarity. Dual-source simultaneous-acquisition technique. The encoding scheme proposed by both Silverman (1979) and Garotta (1983) is sketched in Figure 29. A few years after the introduction of vibroseis. the only real industrial application of simultaneous acquisition be­­ tween 1984 and 1996 was in the ­ multiple-​ VSP business. groups A and B generate the same (positive) polarity. The time difference between two consecutive sweeps is called the slip time. respectively. Bertelli and Servodio. 1984. 64) introduces the slipsweep technique in these terms: “The idea behind slip-sweep recording is unnervingly simple: a vibrator group starts sweeping without waiting for the other group’s sweep to be completed. In fact. in which rig-time savings was highly appreciated (Naville. ­ The industry started to move again in the direction of simultaneous recording more than 10 years later when Rozemond (1996. it appears that despite the impressive progress of 3D seismic surveys.” Figure 30 shows the process.

“a vibrator group can be called the signal starts sweeping without waiting for the other group’s sweep to be matrix S. the matrix is square.org/ the sweeps. (c) Correlation by the pilot creates S after applying the proper the source separation.. see Terms of Use at http://library. p. Separation of completed. 64).200. Each line is associated with a vibrator group and each column with a sweep. A time window as long as the slip time is available for recording data free of interferences after the initial pulse. Figure 31a represents the phases ϕ used for each sweep of each vibrator. (b) Signals corresponding to the by summing rows in matrix various groups are mixed. Until 2004.” The time difference between two consecutive vibrator groups is obtained sweeps is called the slip time. In practice. Figure 32 represents the separation process — a) b) c) four groups of vibrators simultaneously emit one Slip time = Slip time shift sweep and produce four time between records after four sweeps. As a result. 1998.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. Allen et al.. Slip-sweep principle (PDO vibroseis technique). the number of vibrator groups equals the number of sweeps. (b) ejϕ. Time a) 1 1 Vibrator 2 3 4 0∞ 90∞ 90∞ 0∞ Sweep 2 3 0∞ 0∞ 180∞ 180∞ 0∞ 180∞ 0∞ 180∞ b) 4 0∞ –90∞ –90∞ 0∞ 1 i i 1 1 1 –1 –1 1 –1 1 –1 1 –i –i 1 c) Figure 31. It is a generalization in the sense that phase encoding is represented by a phase matrix. Figure 31 gives an example of such a matrix. the slip-sweep technique was used systematically by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and virtually nobody else. Figure 30c shows the result of the correlation by the pilot. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. which are given by the phase-encoding matrix of Figure 31 for each vibrator (rows) and each sweep (columns). The technique of high-fidelity vibratory seismic (HFVS) (Sallas et al. they are undistinguishable. Three representations of the phase-encoding matrix. Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  123 . Used by permission of CGGVeritas. There is no theoretical limitation to that number. (a) Phases in degrees. 1998) generalizes and improves the phase-encoding technique. Before correlation.159.106. 16 sweeps constitute what (a) As stated by Rozemond (1996. The Figure 30. and Figure 31c shows the corresponding wavelets.seg. (c) Corresponding wavelets. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. sweeps The sweeps differ only in their phases. Figure 31b represents the complex exponential ejϕ. although that is not necessary.

see Terms of Use at http://library. the columns separated result obtained by the matrix product. R2 = FS × IP. It can be verified that each element of the resulting matrix (R1) is actually the row sum of matrix S after phase rotation.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow phase rotation to each sweep. simultadata from the separated sources. It is convenient to perform this IP process in the Fourier domain. Another particularity of the practical process is that all vibrators emit simultaneously. a diagonal denoted by IP. The result is R1. Therefore. FS R2 Signal matrix S (seismic data from sources with variable amplitudes) Figure 32. Convolutions become multiplications. Those rotations are represented by the wavelets in matrix IP. R1 = S × IP.org/ Vibrator 124  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . and S is obtained by applying the phase-encoding estimate (usually the weighted matrix to the sweep. the same separation (R2) is obtained by summing FS after applying phase rotations given by the columns of IP. columns of matrix S are summed (in the earth) before recording. because matrix R1 is diagonal. S contains correlations of phase-shifted sweeps by the zero-phase pilot. neous emission of the sweeps is a column summation As in the case of the phase-encodof the signal matrix. For ease of representation in Figure 32. and R1 is the separated result obtained matrix containing deconvolved by the matrix product. Here. S would contain phase-shifted uncorrelated sweeps. and matrix IP contains phase-only wavelets. and only four records (FS) are available. includS R1 ing harmonic distortion. phase rotations become multiplications by ejϕ. Linearity makes the process described in Figure 32 equivalent to the practical process. which is represented in Figure 33.159. FS = column sum (S). Signal separation using the phase-encoding is multiplied by the inverse signal matrix. usually is performed in the Fourier domain. However. S is the signal matrix. In practice. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. are taken 3 into account by replacing correlation (by the pilot signal) with 4 deconvolution (by a signal estimate). 1 The HFVS technique is an improvement in the sense that 2 possible source variations.seg. Used by permission of CGGVeritas. and R2 is the ing separation above. given by the corresponding column of matrix IP.106. In practice. Note that the condition for R1 to be rigorously diagonal — and for the separation to be perfect — is that sweep repeatability must be perfect for each vibrator. and IP would contain phase-only wavelets convolved by the zero-phase pilot. The process. of matrix S are summed before Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. I discussed the limit of this condition earlier in this chapter (Figure 20). and the full Sweep process can be described fully by 2 1 3 4 matrix algebra. Four vibrators (rows) matrix IS obtained from a signal simultaneously emit four successive sweeps (columns).200. The inverse phase matrix is sum).

and therefore it was a lesser problem in conventional vibroseis operations. If the slip time is long enough to avoid those two harmonics. harmonic noise (the result of distortion) was rejected in negative time. The price to pay is a relatively long slip time and consequently a limited productivity increase. is the same as the limit in repeat2 ability.200. f = f 1). (t = 0.org/ Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  125 . The time and frequency of contamination are perfectly predictable from the sweep parameters and from the slip time. After correlation. negative time for record n is positive time for record n – 1. ­ In slip-sweep operations. and R1 is the separated result obtained cost reduction is distortion. an upsweep. see Terms of Use at http://library. the fundamental energy is focused on the frequency axis. when the signal 1 estimate is the weighted sum. To overcome that limitation. The signal no longer is required to IS have the same amplitude spectrum and to be repeatable. The limit of 2 3 4 1 that assumption. harmonic contamination most likely will remain ac­­ ceptable. The inverse ­ signal matrix is dous. 3 Rozemond (1996) predicts that “[t]remendous cost reduc4 tions in vibroseis surveys could be achieved by employing the ‘slip-sweep’ method. Subharmonic energy would be found in positive time. and R2 titled “Properties of harmonic is the separated result obtained by the matrix product. in the section of the signal matrix. f = f 2). most of the harmonic energy is found in the second and third harmonics. as I noted in the discusS R1 sion regarding Figure 20.” Petroleum Data Oman has used the slipFS R2 sweep method since 1996.159. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright.” I showed that for R2 = FS × IS. HFVS separation and inversion. it was necessary for researchers to find ways to reduce harmonic noise. Vibrator Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. which therefore is contaminated by harmonic noise. but perhaps not truly “tremenS is the signal matrix. Once again. The basic assumption is that the signal Sweep estimate is accurate. In practice. R1 = S × IS. In general. and all harmonic energy is found in a triangle defined by points (t = 0.106. and the cost reduction has been real Figure 33. components. FS equals column sum (S).” The reason for the modest denoted by IS. simultaneous emission of the sweeps is a column summation lier in this chapter. Figure 34 shows the time-frequency configuration of integer harmonics for a correlated linear upsweep of length SL from frequency f 1 to frequency f 2. and (t = – SL f = f 2). Used by permission of CGGVeritas.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source recording (FS). Earby the matrix product. and separation and deconvolution are obtained in R2 by multiplying FS by IS.seg.

This map can be used in slip-sweep operaing the various records. Time-frequency representation of correIn terms of productivity. f 2). (0. ing times between successive a) 0 Slip sweep b) Fundamental Frequency H H H 4 3 2 Slip sweep with harmonic noise reduction c) Difference 0.5 Figure 35.106. Harmonic noise reduction on slip-sweep data. Several methods were proposed (Ras et al. f 1).. Figure 34.5 Time (s) 1 1.seg. 126  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . Used by permission of CGGVeritas. f 2). and the result of the subtraction (Figure 35c). Figure 35 shows a slip-sweep SP heavily contaminated by harmonic noise (Figure 35a). From Meunier and Bianchi. Krohn and tions to ensure that no energy from a given harmonic Johnson (2006) propose an im­ component is allowed to leak into the previous SP prove­ ment that eliminates listenrecord. HFVS method suffered from the They are all found inside the triangle (0. The technique promoted by Meunier and Bianchi (2002) consists of estimating the noise either statistically from the data themselves or from the weighted sum and subsequently f2 subtracting it.200. 2004. The efficiency of the 2f1 method enables the use of slip time f1 as short as the listening time with –SL 0 nominal productivity levels of 720 Time VP/hour.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Toward higher productivity Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. 2002. 1999).159. From Meunier and Al-Ghamdi. Most of the techniques ­ applied today use more or less the 3f1 same principle. (b) The same SP after harmonic-noise subtractions. necessary listening times separat(–SL. the subtracted noise (Figure 35b). the lated harmonics for a linear sweep [f1 f2] of length SL. see Terms of Use at http://library. (a) The original slip-sweep SP.org/ The need to reduce harmonic noise was perceived clearly at the turn of the twentyfirst century. (c) Subtracted noise. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright.

org/ sweeps.70 vibrators operate whenat 12-km separation 0. 1.40 2. We do need better seismic images today. Figure 5. 2010. and the distance between two paired vibrators is such that they do not interfere in the zone of interest.20 2.10 free zone 3. The cost of an individual shotpoint is indeed lower when productivity increases. Distinguished Instructor Short Course  •  127 . I believe our industry will devote most of this productivity gain to an increase in data density and ultimately an improvement in image quality.40 3.30 ferent sweeps or sweep 3. In fact.40 DS3 field record (s) from 0. In that technique.00 free zone et al. From Bouska. (2007) introduce the one-vibrator (V1) technique. It also has been shown that a key to noise reduction is an increase in source and receiver density.40 imposed by other 1. see Terms of Use at http://library.00 2. The sweeps 1.80 1. Where do we want to go? It is unclear whether productivity gains have resulted in a reduction in seismic cost.60 two simultaneous sources 0. That technique offers an increase in productivity with virtually no risk to quality.00 techniques are being 0. In the end.200. which uses GPS ­ information to link a large number of single vibrators with the recorder and pushes ­ slip-sweep productivity to its nominal limit.60 simultaneous-source 2.80 (ISS) technique (Howe 2.50 consist of letting the 0.30 0. Krohn and Neelamani (2008) propose such a technique.50 2.10 12 km 0. The 2.20 without any constraint 1. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright.90 ever they are ready.90 can be coded to help 2.60 vibrators.70 1. and very likely. Distance-separated simultaneous-source record showing Pseudorandom sweeps areas of noninterference.10 1.80 0.20 3. but that gain comes with extra noise contamination.106.Chapter 5  Vibroseis: A Very Special Source Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192. For high-productivity slip sweep. we will need even better images in the future. Figure 36.10 source separation. Used by also can provide some permission of EAGE. 2008) uses dif3. thus resulting in harmonic contamination of the previous sweep segment. this necessitates some kind of technique of harmonic noise reduction. not to a reduction in seismic expenditures.seg. It enables large potential gains and can be combined with other methods.50 1. More radical 0. However. Bouska (2010) introduces the distanceseparated simultaneous-sweeping (DS3) technique.159.20 operated today..50 18 km of active receiver line sequences for each group of vibrators.00 1. They 0. DS3 requires a large quantity of receiver equipment because it uses two or three crews instead of one.70 2. vibrators are paired.30 original ­ independent-​ 2. the geophysics industry is already on the route to increased density.30 1. which consists of recording two or ­ more surveys at the same time (Figure 36). Meunier et al.90 InterferenceInterference3.

128  •  Society of Exploration Geophysicists / European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers . Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. see Terms of Use at http://library. processing. Then it would be necessary to operate source separation at the processing stage. It is very likely that traffic will increase despite the many obstacles that already can be identified (such as environmental concerns. organization. the sweeps all might be strictly identical. Pecholcs et al. Conclusion The route is opened. Using that technique.org/ initial source separation.Seismic Acquisition from Yesterday to Tomorrow Downloaded 01/17/13 to 192.seg.106. and cost) and those that still hide along the way.200.501 SP per day.159. Alternatively. (2010) report a productivity of 45.

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