Spectral Decomposition of Seismic Data with Continuous-Wavelet Transform

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper presents a new methodology for computing a time-frequency map for nonstationary signals using the continuous-wavelet transform (CWT). The conventional method of producing a time-frequency map using the short time Fourier transform (STFT) limits time-frequency resolution by a predefined window length. In contrast, the CWT method does not require preselecting a window length and does not have a fixed time-frequency resolution over the time-frequency space. CWT uses dilation and translation of a wavelet to produce a time-scale map. A single scale encompasses a frequency band and is inversely proportional to the time support of the dilated wavelet. Previous workers have converted a time-scale map into a time-frequency map by taking the center frequencies of each scale. We transform the time-scale map by taking the Fourier transform of the inverse CWT to produce a time-frequency map. Thus, a time-scale map is converted into a time-frequency map in which the amplitudes of individual frequencies rather than frequency bands are represented. We refer to such a map as the time-frequency CWT (TFCWT). We validate our approach with a nonstationary synthetic example and compare the results with the STFT and a typical CWT spectrum. Two field examples illustrate that the TFCWT potentially can be used to detect frequency shadows caused by hydrocarbons and to identify subtle stratigraphic features for reservoir characterization.