The seismic sector conducts the seismic surveys and processes the seismic data that help identify locations of oil and gas resources.

In a seismic survey, the geophysical contractor’s crew lays out a line (or several lines) of sensitive receivers, called geophones or “jugs,” on the ground. Then explosions or mechanical vibrations are created on the surface. The geophones record the energy that is reflected back as seismic waves from rock layers at various depths.

Geophysicists use powerful computers to process the data from digitally recorded seismic surveys. Computer-assisted processing of the data creates a picture of the sedimentary structures below and ideally shows the location and extent of porous layers within these structures.

Geophysicists and geologists examine the seismic data for the presence of suitable traps and for similarities with other petroleum-producing areas. If the results seem promising, they use the seismic data to locate and drill a well.

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