## Flat and floating datum corrections, why and when?

Oil and natural gas exploration -- geology and geophysics
jefry123
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### Flat and floating datum corrections, why and when?

Hi every body, I hope you all are safe and healthy in this Covid19 situation!

I may have a problem in understanding the application of flat and floating datum corrections in seismic data processing.

I know that, we use the flat datum correction because the hyperbolic assumption is true if sources and receivers be on a flat surface. So, in case of topography, we compensate this elevation differences at sources and receivers positions by moving them to a flat datum. On the other hand, we use the floating datum, a smooth version of topography, for processing, velocity analysis and migration.

My question is that why we choose the floating datum for processing instead of the flat datum, while the hyperbolic assumption is valid for the flat datum?

For the interpretation step, the final stack sections to be used, are on flat datum, right? If so, why is that? Don't they need the true topography? The floating datum isn't a better approximation of the topography?

GuyM
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### Re: Flat and floating datum corrections, why and when?

They key thing here is we are trying to use vertical static shifts on traces to "fix" the elevation corrections, when the ray-paths we are dealing with are not vertical. So statics are a bit of an approximation.

If the static shifts are small, this is not too bad. It certainly gets us closer to the solution, and we can then use residual statics to mop up the rest.
However if the shifts are large (lets say > 8-12ms or so TWT) then the approximation is not good. So we address this by using a floating datum (a smoothed version of the elevation) so that the static shifts are small.

You'll also find issues in hard rock areas; that's because the velocity variations can be big (when the hard rock is weathered or fractured, then not) so it can give rise to much bigger static shifts.

So - it's all down to vertical static shifts being an approximation, which gets worse the larger the shift.

jefry123
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### Re: Flat and floating datum corrections, why and when?

So, the smoother the topography, the more closer the two corrections using flat and float datums, right?

What should be the datum for the final output of the processing (stacks and gathers)?

GuyM
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### Re: Flat and floating datum corrections, why and when?

So, the smoother the topography, the more closer the two corrections using flat and float datums, right?
Um, not quite - it's not just how rough the topography is but the how much it varies from the highest to the lowest point that counts. That's what gives the size of the static shift.

A linear ramp from sea level to 500m altitude is very smooth, but if you have use a constant, flat datum you will have big static shifts. if you slammed the flat datum through at 250m you'd have big distortions to the reflection hyperbolae at either end of the line.
What should be the datum for the final output of the processing (stacks and gathers)?
You always correct to a final, flat datum before delivery and final displays. It can be useful to consider both for QC's while processing of course.
Thanks!

I'm out of geophysics professionally now (perhaps forever!) and while I have a great job I'm really enjoying it's nice to have a chance to help those still carrying the torch.

jefry123
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:25 am

### Re: Flat and floating datum corrections, why and when?

I'm out of geophysics professionally now (perhaps forever!) and while I have a great job I'm really enjoying it's nice to have a chance to help those still carrying the torch.
[/quote]

OMG! I wish you the best Guy, So, the geophysics does not have a bright future apparently, right?
What do you do now after being a great geophysicist for this long?

GuyM
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### Re: Flat and floating datum corrections, why and when?

I was on the software development side of things for a long time; we were working using agile approaches for a decade or so and there's plenty of work in that domain. I'm currently working as a Scrum Master - less on the software development side and more in general IT. Working with a a couple of teams as they start up - its a lot of fun.

GuyM
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### Re: Flat and floating datum corrections, why and when?

So, the geophysics does not have a bright future apparently, right?
In real (inflation adjusted) terms oil prices are about where they were for the first decade of my career ('92-'02); the industry was small and lean then, with redundancy rounds and company failures common. The root cause was over-supply.

High prices drive fresh exploration; fresh exploration leads to many discoveries. Discoveries lead to production. Production drives down prices.

I made a call in 2000 to move from Europe to New Zealand, given the historic low oil prices was going to drive a lot of unemployment; I was wrong in the short term - we had a lovely long boom from 2005-2015 - but right that the North Sea would not see my career to retirement.

That boom was a good time to add new skills - hard and soft - to my resume, because in any commodity business, there is always a slump.

I think there's good careers to be had still in geophysics, just that getting back to 1990s employment levels (as we are now) is kind of painful for those with experience and long memories; there are plenty of great geophysicists to be hired who are younger than I am - and indeed less expensive.

I think there was also a transition for me where the teams and how they create value for the business became more interesting than the technical data.

I'm really just a decade late in executing my plan!

That said it was a fantastic decade, full of great people, and took me round the world to all kinds of places I'd never visit without that - about 20 different countries for work, and more in transit. No regrets at all.

So - enjoy your geophysics career, but don't neglect building up the non-technical, transferable skills around teams, leadership, communication and business....

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