A revolution in seismic acquisition?

We're in warm, sunny Calgary for the GeoConvention 2013. The conference feels like it's really embracing geophysics this year — in the past it's always felt more geological somehow. Even the exhibition floor felt dominated by geophysics. Someone we spoke to speculated that companies were holding their geological cards close to their chests, but the service companies are still happy to talk about (ahem, promote) their geophysical advances.

Are you at the conference? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

We caught about 15 talks of the 100 or so on offer today. A few of them ignited the old whines about half-cocked proofs of efficacy. Why is it still acceptable to say that a particular seismic volume or inversion result is 'higher resolution' or 'more geological' with nothing more than a couple of sections or timeslices as evidence?

People are excited about designing seismic acquisition expressly for wavefield reconstruction. In a whole session devoted to the subject, for example, Mauricio Sacchi showed how randomization helps with regularization in processing, allowing us to either get better image quality, or to lower cost. It feels like the start of a new wave of innovation in acquisition, which has more than its fair share of recent innovation: multi-component, wide azimuth, dual-sensor, simultaneous source...

Is it a revolution? Or just the fallacy of new things looking revolutionary... until the next new thing? It's intriguing to the non-specialist. People are talking about 'beyond Nyquist' again, but this time without inducing howls of derision. We just spent an hour talking about it, and we think there's something deep going on... we're just not sure how to articulate it yet.

Unsolved problems

We were at the conference today, but really we are focused on the session we're hosting tomorrow morning. Along with a roomful of adventurous conference-goers (you're invited too!), looking for the most pressing questions in subsurface science. We start at 8 a.m. in Telus 101/102 on the main floor of the north building.