Illustration by Rusty Johnson
The mammoth task of determining the three billion-letter
DNA sequence of the human genome was recently completed - but this
milestone in understanding the most complex systems known to mankind
is, in fact, only a beginning.
Identifying which parts of human DNA contain genes and then determining
the role of those genes in governing cell function are challenges
that will occupy geneticists for future decades.
Understanding the seismic “genome” is an analogous challenge.
Distinguishing signals from noise and determining their geological
significance requires a similar congruence of powerful computerized
tools and interpretive expertise.
Seismic “genes” are manifest as patterns and textures in the seismic
image - recognizable to the trained explorationist but not to the
computer. These patterns and textures are the trace shapes and depositional
geometries seen in the seismic.
Current computerized tools provide little more than an electronic
pencil to enable the explorationist to draw an interpretation into
Overwhelmed by data, facing ever-tighter deadlines and supported
by computerized drawing rather than searching tools, it is difficult
for today’s explorationist to use the range of seismic “genes” that
are already well understood, let alone search for new ones.
ImageGenetics™ technology takes nature’s principle of encoding
complex systems as DNA sequences and attempts to use it to decode
complex natural systems into their basic DNA. It generates the “DNA”
of any seismic data, pre- or post-stack - and this seismic “DNA”
then can be searched for “genes,” or patterns, that code particular
geologic characteristics, the company said.
If so, the explorationist could be able to use this to construct
an explicit template of seismic “genes” that characterize a play
concept, and then search large volumes of data for all leads that
exhibit the same characteristics.