Mitigating the effects of sand dunes on seismic data from the Rub al Khali basin, Saudi Arabia
M. Al-Marzooq, M.S. Diallo, V. Etienne, T. Tonellot and S.I. Kaka
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 67, No 7, September 2019 pp. 1825 - 1837
Info: Article, PDF ( 30.74Mb )
The Rub Al Khali region in Saudi Arabia is characterized by the presence of sand dunes separated by salt flats, also called Sabkhas. In general, the elevation of dunes in this region varies between 90 and 250 m above sea level. The presence of these sand dunes, along with the rapidly changing surface topography poses challenges for seismic data acquisition and processing. The high contrast in acoustic impedance between the dune base and the underlying formation often results in amplification of seismic waves that are recorded at stations located on the surface of sand dunes. Attempts to address the issue using conventional surface-consistent amplitude scaling methods without reducing these amplification effects generally fail, thus compromising the suitability of the processed data for amplitude versus offset analysis. In this study, we propose a new reference site technique to reduce the effects of sand dune amplification, enabling the production of data sets that are suitable for amplitude versus offset processing. The proposed technique uses a deterministic approach to derive surface-consistent, frequency-dependent de-amplification functions for shots and stations located on the dunes only. Two-dimensional synthetic and field data examples show that the technique significantly reduces the effects of sand dune amplification.