Seismic Interpretation Course

Course Details

This course is geared towards explorationists who are involved in screening seismic data for possible leads that they develop into prospects. This is a hands-on course where the instructor spends as little time on lectures as possible and the bulk of the time is spent interpreting seismic lines. These lines have been collected from oil producing basins worldwide and provide textbook examples of structural and stratigraphic geometries.

The course is evenly divided between the seismic expression of structural styles and seismic stratigraphy. After spending minimal time on acquisition and background theory participants will be made acutely aware of impedance and resolution and identification of processing errors and how important it is to understand these before interpretation. The participants will be introduced to the structural complexity associated with fold and thrust terrains, extensional systems and various types of wrench faulting and salt/mud related deformation.

The seismic stratigraphy portion of the course not only covers the practice of sequence stratigraphy using seismic data (AAPG Memoir 26), but also spends quite a bit of time on seismic facies analysis in cross-sectional view. Through lots of exercises by the end of the course everyone should be proficient at sequence analysis on seismic lines and be able to interpret depositional environments and net:gross using seismic facies analysis. The course will also introduce participants to the world of seismic geomorphology, attribute analysis and direct hydrocarbon indicators with an emphasis on unconventional resource plays such as fractured shale gas reservoirs and tight-gas sandstones.

Participants are strongly urged to bring paper copies of their own seismic data to work on. These data will not be shared with anyone and will only be reviewed by the instructor.

What will you gain?

  • The ability to detect processing errors and determine the resolution of your data
  • Confidence in fault picking through familiarization with natural fold and fault systems
  • A solid foundation in seismic sequence and facies analysis
  • The skills required to determine Gross Depositional Environments and Net:Gross before drilling
  • An understanding of what it takes to develop leads and convert them into prospects
  • A basic familiarity with direct hydrocarbon indicators and seismic attributes
  • An introduction to the seismic techniques used in unconventional resource plays

If you are interested in an advanced seismic sequence stratigraphy course, please click here.


Geologists and Geophysicists that spend most of their time interpreting seismic data on the workstation. Whether you are an early career geoscientist wanting to learn a systematic approach to seismic interpretation or an experienced professional wanting to learn some of the latest techniques to have emerged in structural geology and seismic stratigraphy, this is the course for you.

Course Outline

Day 1

Introduction to seismic acquisition and processing, seismic frequency and its relationship to bed thickness, impedance, detection and resolution. The systematic methodology of seismic interpretation.

Exercise on calculating seismic frequency and resolution.

Introduction to compressional tectonics and fold and thrust belts: horses, piggy-back thrusting, duplexes and antiformal stacks, triangle-zones, fault propagation folds, fault bend folds and detachment folds

Exercises on interpretation of fold and thrust belts

Day 2

Introduction to extensional systems, planar and listric normal faults, relay ramps, rollover anticlines, antithetic and synthetic faults, inversion structures, salt and mud diapirism related deformation.

Exercises on interpretation of rifts, strike-slip and oblique slip systems

Introduction to wrench faults, flower structures, salt tectonics and shale diapirism

Day 3

Seismic Sequence Stratigraphy: principles of accommodation, relative sea-level cycle, systems tracts, reflection terminations and the identification of key surfaces on seismic data


Exercises on performing sequence analysis on seismic lines

day 4

Seismic facies analysis: external geometries and internal refection configuration, the ABC method of defining seismic facies, reflection patterns, continuity and amplitude and using these to determine environments of deposition and net:gross


Exercises on seismic facies analysis

Day 5

Introduction to time slices, horizon slices and stratal and the advantages/disadvantages of each, common seismic attributes and their application to unconventional resource plays such as tight-gas sandstones and fractured shale plays, direct hydrocarbon indicators such as flat spots, bright spots and polarity reversals.

Workshop on participant data

This course will run in Abu Dhabi, UAE between February 5-9, 2017. It is being organized by 4D-UAE and if you would like to register we can get you in touch with them.