Volume 40 Number 3
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2478



In many branches of science, techniques designed for use in one context are used in other contexts, often with the belief that results which hold in the former will also hold or be relevant in the latter. Practical limitations are frequently overlooked or ignored. Three techniques used in seismic data analysis are often misused or their limitations poorly understood: (1) maximum entropy spectral analysis; (2) the role of goodness‐of‐fit and the real meaning of a wavelet estimate; (3) the use of multiple confidence intervals.

It is demonstrated that in practice maximum entropy spectral estimates depend on a data‐dependent smoothing window with unpleasant properties, which can result in poor spectral estimates for seismic data.

Secondly, it is pointed out that the level of smoothing needed to give least errors in a wavelet estimate will not give rise to the best goodness‐of‐fit between the seismic trace and the wavelet estimate convolved with the broadband synthetic. Even if the smoothing used corresponds to near‐minimum errors in the wavelet, the actual noise realization on the seismic data can cause important perturbations in residual wavelets following wavelet deconvolution.

Finally the computation of multiple confidence intervals (e.g. at several spatial positions) is considered. Suppose a nominal, say 90%, confidence interval is calculated at each location. The confidence attaching to the simultaneous use of the confidence intervals is not then 90%. Methods do exist for working out suitable confidence levels. This is illustrated using porosity maps computed using conditional simulation.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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