In seismic exploration, the first break picking is a fundamental step for seismic data processing. Various theories and methods have been developed by geophysicists in past years. However, each method has its own inherent limitations and cannot always provide an accurate result. So, new theories and methods should be tried and applied. In this paper, we propose a new method for automatic picking of the first break by the complementary ensemble empirical mode decomposition (CEEMD). CEEMD is an effective analysis technology for non-stationary signal. And the seismic signal is a typical non-stationary signal, so it can be divided into a set of intrinsic mode function (IMF) by CEEMD completely. Then, enhance the characteristics of first break on some IMFs with threshold. Finally, recompose the signal and pick the first break. Taking the huge data into account, we use an optimization algorithm to achieve the adaptive picking for every trace. The synthetic signal and field data examples show that the picking method we proposed can achieve convergent and reliable results automatically.


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