Solving exploration problems with machine learning
Over the past eight years the evolution of machine learning in the form of unsupervised neural networks has been applied to improve and gain more insights in the seismic interpretation process (Smith and Taner, 2010; Roden et al., 2015; Santogrossi, 2016: Roden and Chen, 2017; Roden et al., 2017). Today’s interpretation environment involves an enormous amount of seismic data including regional 3D surveys with numerous processing versions and dozens if not hundreds of seismic attributes. This ‘Big Data’ issue poses problems for geoscientists attempting to make accurate and efficient interpretations. Multi-attribute machine learning approaches such as self-organizing maps (SOMs), an unsupervised learning approach, not only incorporates numerous seismic attributes, but often reveals details in the data not previously identified. The reason for this improved interpretation process is that SOM analyses data at each data sample (sample interval X bin) for the multiple seismic attributes that are simultaneously analysed for natural patterns or clusters. The scale of the patterns identified by this machine learning process is on a sample basis, unlike conventional amplitude data where resolution is limited by the associated wavelet (Roden et al., 2017).