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Reflection Seismology Program

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Fall 2005 Spring 2006



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Courses Offered in Reflection Seismology

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      Exploration Seismology emphasizes seismic reflection and refraction theory, and principles of data acquisition, processing and interpretation.  It is an introductory course, geared principally to upper division undergraduates and first-year graduate students in Geosciences, Hydrology and Mining and Geological Engineering.  Evolution of this class over the past several years has resulted in an expanded course content, and homework assignments and classroom examples that incorporate fundamental aspects of seismic reflection data interpretation and the use of computers for data processing and interpretation.  Students still want much more interpretation, so this need is addressed with the development of a new course dedicated to workstation-based seismic interpretation (GEOS 596F).  Each year, students participate in a class field exercise to record seismic data close to Tucson.

      Seismic Data Processing includes practical digital filtering theory as well as "hands-on" experience in processing real data sets on workstations using state-of-the-art processing software; students develop the flow of processes visually "on screen" and can see the results at each step immediately - a very effective teaching tool.  In the course, development of important theoretical concepts in time-series analysis and digital filtering are placed in context by use of the theory on real data examples.  Students process seismic data from start to finish, sometimes using data that they have helped to acquire in field trips or other classes.  The course level (GEOS 469/569) was chosen specifically to allow and encourage both undergraduate and graduate students, with appropriate prerequisite courses, to enroll.  This course normally is to be offered in alternate years with a new course in Interpretation of Seismic Reflection Data.

      Interpretation of Seismic Reflection Data (GEOS 596F) is in development as a new offering for graduate students and undergraduates with appropriate preparation.  In this class, students work with state-of-the-art seismic reflection data processing and interpretation software to analyze subsurface structures in two and three dimensions.  Resource exploration companies hire many of our Geoscience students in permanent positions and summer internships; virtually all of our students will be exposed sometime in their academic and professional careers to seismic reflection data, which has become the principal exploration tool in petroleum and other resource development and in high-resolution lithospheric imaging.  This course provides students with the appropriate theoretical and technical background to appropriately integrate their geological intuition into accurate, detailed interpretations of subsurface geology.  This class will become a standard offering that I will alternate with Seismic Data Processing.

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