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Using an airgun array in a land reservoir as the seismic source for seismotectonic studies in northern China: experiments and preliminary resultsNormal access

Authors: Yong Chen, Lanbo Liu, Hongkui Ge, Baojun Liu and Xuelin Qiu
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 56, No 4, July 2008 pp. 601 - 612
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2478.2007.00679.x
Organisations: Wiley
Special topic: Passive and controlled-source crustal imaging
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 958.31Kb )

This paper reports the field setup and preliminary results of experiments utilizing an airgun array in a reservoir in north China for a seismotectonic study. Commonly used in offshore petroleum resource exploration, the airgun source was found to be more useful than a traditional explosive source for large-scale and long offset land seismic surveys. The airgun array, formed by four 1,500 in3 airguns (a total of 6,000 in3 in volume) was placed at a depth of 6–9 m into the reservoir to generate the pressure impulse. No direct evidence was found that the airgun source adversely affected the fish in the reservoir. The peak ground acceleration recorded on the top of the reservoir dam 100 m away was 17.8 gal in the horizontal direction; this is much less than the designed earthquake-resistance threshold of 125 gal for this dam. The energy for one shot of this airgun array is about 6.68 MJ, equivalent to firing a 1.7 kg explosive. The seismic waves generated by the airgun source were recorded by receivers of the regional seismic networks and a temporary wide-angle reflection and refraction profile formed by 100 short-period seismometers with the maximum source-receiver offset of 206 km. The seismic wave signature at these long-offset stations is equivalent to that generated by a traditional blast source in a borehole with a 1,000–2,000 kg explosive. Preliminary results showed clear seismic phases from refractions from the multi-layer crustal structures in the north China region. Forward modelling using numerical simulation confirms that the seismic arrivals are indeed from lower crustal interfaces. The airgun source is efficient, economical, environmentally friendly and suitable for being used in urbanized areas. It has many advantages over an explosive source for seismotectonic studies such as the high repeatability that is supreme for stacking to improve signal qualities. The disadvantage is that the source is limited to existing lakes or reservoirs, which may restrict experimental geometry.

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