Application of the Virtual Refraction to Near-Surface Characterization at the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site

Josh Nichols, Boise State University
Dylan Mikesell, Boise State University
Kasper van Wijk, Boise State University

Geophysical Prospecting, Volume 58, Issue 6, 1011–1022. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2478.2010.00881.x


Seismic interferometry is a relatively new technique to estimate the Green's function between receivers. Spurious energy, not part of the true Green's function, is produced because assumptions are commonly violated when applying seismic interferometry to field data. Instead of attempting to suppress all spurious energy, we show how spurious energy associated with refractions contains information about the subsurface in field data collected at the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site. By forming a virtual shot record we suppress uncorrelated noise and produce a virtual refraction that intercepts zero offset at zero time. These two features make the virtual refraction easy to pick, providing an estimate of refractor velocity. To obtain the physical parameters of the layer above the refractor we analyse the cross-correlation of wavefields recorded at two receivers for all sources. A stationary-phase point associated with the correlation between the reflected wave and refracted wave from the interface identifies the critical offset. By combining information from the virtual shot record, the correlation gather and the real shot record we determine the seismic velocities of the unsaturated and saturated sands, as well as the variable relative depth to the water-table. Finally, we discuss how this method can be extended to more complex geologic models.