Volume 33 Number 8
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2478



The advent of signal energy on a VSP or check‐shot trace may be defined as the first break. An accurate pick of this first break would be possible in the absence of noise. However, real data traces are inevitably corrupted by noise and this leads to difficulty in identifying a break because the signal‐to‐noise ratio is low in its neighbourhood.

Under such conditions, an obvious alternative is to pick “troughs” where the local signal‐to‐noise ratio is likely to be much higher. Although trough picking is an effective way to minimize the noise problem, it is sensitive to signal properties (such as absorption and multiple reflections) which have no effect upon the accuracy of break picks. Thus, trough picking is signal‐sensitive and break picking is noise‐sensitive.

Clearly, an ideal first‐arrival picking scheme would combine the noise‐tolerant features of trough picking with the signal‐tolerant features of break picking. This ideal may be approached by exploiting known properties of the VSP trace using conventional signal processing techniques. The result of such processing is to reduce the problem to that of picking a trough correctly centered about the true break time.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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