Seismic wave propagation around subsurface igneous sill complexes

Oliver G. Sanford* (Corresponding Author), Nicholas Schofield, Richard W. Hobbs, Richard J. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Imaging both within and beneath subsurface igneous sill complexes is a seismic exploration challenge. A significant aspect of this challenge is due to a lack of understanding of the interaction between the heterogeneous geological structures and the seismic wavefield, which includes the seismic response to sub-resolution ‘thin’ sills. This study aims to provide some insight into the effect subsurface sills have on the observed seismic wavefield. This is achieved
through high-resolution full-waveform elastic seismic modelling, using a realistic geological model developed from interpreted seismic data and statistics of sills from wireline logs and conceptual understanding from sill complexes in outcrop. We find that little energy penetrates through the sill complex to a target reflector below the sill complex, which is consistent with real-world observations. This is due to a number of factors, including energy lost to strong internal multiples (stratigraphic filtering), converted modes and leaky guided
waves within the sills. These processes remove energy from the primary transmitted wavefront, contributing to degraded seismic imaging. Whilst these are all fundamental physical limitations that cannot be overcome, further work should focus on the processing of seismic data to ensure that these aspects of the seismic wave-field around sill complexes are optimally treated within processing workflows
Original languageEnglish
Article number106232
Number of pages8
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was undertaken during O.G.S’s PhD at Durham University, funded by Eni through the Volcanic Margins Research Consortium (Phase 2). Seismic modelling was performed using the open source SOFI2D (Bohlen 2002) and post-processed using Seismic Un*x (Stockwell & Cohen 2012). Figures were prepared using the open source Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) (Wessel & Smith W. H. F. 1998) and Seismic Un*x. Zoeppritz amplitude coefficients were calculated using the CREWES Matlab toolbox of the University of Calgary (Margrave and Lamoureux 2019). This work made use of the facilities of the Hamilton HPC Service of Durham University

Data Availability Statement

Data will be made available on request.


  • seismic
  • wave propagation
  • sills
  • intrusions


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