Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
Research article
13 Jan 2015
Research article |  | 13 Jan 2015

Finite-difference modelling to evaluate seismic P-wave and shear-wave field data

T. Burschil, T. Beilecke, and C. M. Krawczyk

Abstract. High-resolution reflection seismic methods are an established non-destructive tool for engineering tasks. In the near surface, shear-wave reflection seismic measurements usually offer a higher spatial resolution in the same effective signal frequency spectrum than P-wave data, but data quality varies more strongly.

To discuss the causes of these differences, we investigated a P-wave and a SH-wave seismic reflection profile measured at the same location on the island of Föhr, Germany and applied seismic reflection processing to the field data as well as finite-difference modelling of the seismic wave field. The simulations calculated were adapted to the acquisition field geometry, comprising 2 m receiver distance (1 m for SH wave) and 4 m shot distance along the 1.5 km long P-wave and 800 m long SH-wave profiles. A Ricker wavelet and the use of absorbing frames were first-order model parameters. The petrophysical parameters to populate the structural models down to 400 m depth were taken from borehole data, VSP (vertical seismic profile) measurements and cross-plot relations.

The simulation of the P-wave wave-field was based on interpretation of the P-wave depth section that included a priori information from boreholes and airborne electromagnetics. Velocities for 14 layers in the model were derived from the analysis of five nearby VSPs (vP =1600–2300 m s-1). Synthetic shot data were compared with the field data and seismic sections were created. Major features like direct wave and reflections are imaged. We reproduce the mayor reflectors in the depth section of the field data, e.g. a prominent till layer and several deep reflectors. The SH-wave model was adapted accordingly but only led to minor correlation with the field data and produced a higher signal-to-noise ratio. Therefore, we suggest to consider for future simulations additional features like intrinsic damping, thin layering, or a near-surface weathering layer. These may lead to a better understanding of key parameters determining the data quality of near-surface shear-wave seismic measurements.

Short summary
In this paper, we compared, measured and simulated reflection seismology data for different wave types. P wave and shear wave land data were acquired in the field while the synthetic data were generated by finite-difference modelling. Major features of the P waves were imaged, but simulations cannot clarify the signal-to-noise ratio of the shear wave field data. Future modelling approaches will consider additional features for a better understanding of near-surface seismic measurements.