University of Western Australia: Reading the archives of the Earth’s history

A team from The University of Western Australia’s Centre for Energy Geoscience (CEG) has published a new review of state-of-the-art techniques in seismic interpretation that will help in deciphering the archives of the Earth’s history.

Research Fellow Dr Victorien Paumard, from the CEG and UWA’s School of Earth Sciences, said the review, published in Earth-Science Reviews, presents the fundamentals of seismic stratigraphy and seismic geomorphology, two key disciplines in geoscience.

“Seismic data assists in visualising the rocks buried kilometres below our feet or the seafloor as we unravel its geological history to understand how sediments are transported, accumulated, and preserved across continental margins,” Dr Paumard said.

“Over the past 50 years, seismic data has quickly become an integral part of any geological interpretation workflow, driven by major advances in technology, allowing geoscientists to acquire, process and interpret this information more extensively and efficiently.

“We thought it was timely to provide the geological community with a comprehensive review of the rules, tools and workflows that will help them maximise the information that can be extracted from seismic data.”

Adjunct Senior Research Fellow Dr Henry Posamentier, from the CEG and UWA’s School of Earth Sciences, said by making the interpretation workflows more accessible the team hopes to see more diverse applications of seismic stratigraphy and seismic geomorphology.

“We’d like to see it taken beyond resource exploration, in domains such as carbon capture and sequestration, geohazards evaluation for things such as landslides and geoarchaeology,” Dr Posamentier said.

CEG Director Professor Simon Lang said seismic data also plays a more fundamental role in deciphering the archives of the history of our planet.

“With this work we want to demonstrate the value of seismic data in reconstructing past landscapes and seascapes which can be used to better understand and model the evolution of sea level and climate change in the past,” Professor Lang said.

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