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State-of-the-art remote characterization of shallow marine sediments: the road to a fully integrated solution

State-of-the-art remote characterization of shallow marine sediments: the road to a fully integrated solution
State-of-the-art remote characterization of shallow marine sediments: the road to a fully integrated solution
Current methods for characterizing near-surface marine sediments rely on extensive coring/penetrometer testing and correlation to seismic facies. Little quantitative information is regularly derived from geophysical data beyond qualitative inferences of sediment characteristics based on seismic
facies architecture. Even these fundamental seismostratigraphic nterpretations can be difficult to correlate with lithostratigraphic data due to inaccuracies in the time-to-depth conversion of geophysical data and potential loss and/or compression of high-porosity and under-consolidated seafloor material during direct sampling. To complicate matters further, when quantitative information is derived from marine geophysical data, it often describes the sediments using terminology (e.g., acoustic impedance and seismic quality factor) that is impenetrable to geologists and engineers. In
contrast, for hydrocarbon prospecting, reservoir characterization using quantitative inversion of geophysical data has developed enormously over the past 20 years or more. Impedance and amplitude-versus-angle inversion techniques are now commonplace, whereas computationally expensive waveform inversions are gaining traction, and there is a well-developed interface between these geophysical and reservoir engineering fields via rock physics.
In this paper, we collate and review the different published inversion methods for high-resolution geophysical data. Using several case study examples spanning a broad range of depositional environments, we assess the current state of the art in remote characterization of shallow sediments from a multidisciplinary viewpoint, encompassing geophysical, geological, and geotechnical angles. By identifying the key parameters used to characterize the subsurface, a framework is developed whereby geological, geotechnical, and geophysical characterizations of the subsurface can be
related in a less subjective manner. As part of this, we examine the sensitivity of commonly derived acoustic properties (e.g., acoustic impedance and seismic quality factor) to more fundamentally important soil properties (e.g., lithology, pore pressure, gas saturation, and undrained shear strength), thereby facilitating better integration between geological, geotechnical, and geophysical data for improved mapping of sediment properties. Ultimately, we present a number of ideas for future research activities in this field.
1873-0604
387-402
Vardy, M.E.
8dd019dc-e57d-4b49-8f23-0fa6d246e69d
Vanneste, M.
6ca23aee-5aa7-4dca-9f86-791e5c4a6d82
Henstock, T.J.
27c450a4-3e6b-41f8-97f9-4e0e181400bb
Clare, M.A.
b26da858-9c08-4784-aaa9-7092efcd94bd
Forsberg, C.F.
1876547d-d739-4398-8fe7-60139d5313c8
Provenzano, G.
076fb0cd-74db-4b62-bc0b-afffbe442cc4
Vardy, M.E.
8dd019dc-e57d-4b49-8f23-0fa6d246e69d
Vanneste, M.
6ca23aee-5aa7-4dca-9f86-791e5c4a6d82
Henstock, T.J.
27c450a4-3e6b-41f8-97f9-4e0e181400bb
Clare, M.A.
b26da858-9c08-4784-aaa9-7092efcd94bd
Forsberg, C.F.
1876547d-d739-4398-8fe7-60139d5313c8
Provenzano, G.
076fb0cd-74db-4b62-bc0b-afffbe442cc4

Vardy, M.E., Vanneste, M., Henstock, T.J., Clare, M.A., Forsberg, C.F. and Provenzano, G. (2017) State-of-the-art remote characterization of shallow marine sediments: the road to a fully integrated solution. Near Surface Geophysics, 15, 387-402. (doi:10.3997/1873-0604.2017024).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Current methods for characterizing near-surface marine sediments rely on extensive coring/penetrometer testing and correlation to seismic facies. Little quantitative information is regularly derived from geophysical data beyond qualitative inferences of sediment characteristics based on seismic
facies architecture. Even these fundamental seismostratigraphic nterpretations can be difficult to correlate with lithostratigraphic data due to inaccuracies in the time-to-depth conversion of geophysical data and potential loss and/or compression of high-porosity and under-consolidated seafloor material during direct sampling. To complicate matters further, when quantitative information is derived from marine geophysical data, it often describes the sediments using terminology (e.g., acoustic impedance and seismic quality factor) that is impenetrable to geologists and engineers. In
contrast, for hydrocarbon prospecting, reservoir characterization using quantitative inversion of geophysical data has developed enormously over the past 20 years or more. Impedance and amplitude-versus-angle inversion techniques are now commonplace, whereas computationally expensive waveform inversions are gaining traction, and there is a well-developed interface between these geophysical and reservoir engineering fields via rock physics.
In this paper, we collate and review the different published inversion methods for high-resolution geophysical data. Using several case study examples spanning a broad range of depositional environments, we assess the current state of the art in remote characterization of shallow sediments from a multidisciplinary viewpoint, encompassing geophysical, geological, and geotechnical angles. By identifying the key parameters used to characterize the subsurface, a framework is developed whereby geological, geotechnical, and geophysical characterizations of the subsurface can be
related in a less subjective manner. As part of this, we examine the sensitivity of commonly derived acoustic properties (e.g., acoustic impedance and seismic quality factor) to more fundamentally important soil properties (e.g., lithology, pore pressure, gas saturation, and undrained shear strength), thereby facilitating better integration between geological, geotechnical, and geophysical data for improved mapping of sediment properties. Ultimately, we present a number of ideas for future research activities in this field.

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Accepted/In Press date: 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 5 June 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 412757
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/412757
ISSN: 1873-0604
PURE UUID: b4eb7726-ec57-4eb3-9243-8f909b075e81
ORCID for T.J. Henstock: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2132-2514

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Date deposited: 01 Aug 2017 16:31
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:53

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