Volume 55, Issue 6
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2478



A single‐layer model of the near surface throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is available. While this simple model suffices for most areas and large subsurface structures, it fails in situations where the surface topography is complex, the base of weathering is below the datum, or where the time structural closure is less than the uncertainty in the static correction. In such cases, multiple‐layered models that incorporate velocities derived from analysis of first arrivals picked from seismic shot records have proved to be successful in defining the lateral heterogeneity of the near surface. The additional velocity information obtained from this first‐arrival analysis (direct as well as refracted arrivals) vastly improves the velocity–depth model of the near surface, regardless of the topography. Static corrections computed from these detailed near‐surface velocity models have significantly enhanced subsurface image focusing, thereby reducing the uncertainty in the closure of target structures. Other non‐seismic methods have been used either to confirm qualitatively or to enhance the layer models previously mentioned. Gravity data may be particularly useful in sandy areas to confirm general structure, while geostatistical modelling of vibrator base‐plate attributes has yielded information that enhances the velocity field. In the global context, exploration targets of the oil and gas industry are seeking smaller and lower relief‐time structures. Thus, near‐surface models will need to enhance and integrate these methods, particularly in areas where the assumption of flat‐lying near‐surface layers cannot be met.


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