Fault interpretation in a vertically exaggerated seismic section: evidence of conceptual model uncertainty and anchoring

Juan Alcalde, Clare E. Bond, Gareth Johnson, Armelle Kloppenberg, Oriol Ferrer, Rebecca Bell, Puy Ayarza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The use of conceptual models is essential in the interpretation of reflection seismic data. It allows interpreters to make geological sense of seismic data which carries inherent uncertainty. However, conceptual models can create powerful anchors that prevent interpreters from reassessing and adapting their interpretations as part of the interpretation process, which can subsequently lead to flawed or erroneous outcomes. It is therefore critical to understand how conceptual models are generated and applied to reduce unwanted effects in interpretation results. Here we have tested how interpretation of vertically exaggerated seismic data influenced the creation and adoption of the conceptual models of 160 participants in a paper-based interpretation experiment. Participants were asked to interpret a series of faults and a horizon, off-set by those faults, in a seismic section. The seismic section was randomly presented to the participants with different horizontal-vertical exaggeration (1:4 or 1:2). Statistical analysis of the results indicates that early anchoring to specific conceptual models had the most impact on interpretation outcome; with the degree of vertical exaggeration having a subdued influence. Three different conceptual models were adopted by participants, constrained by initial observations of the seismic data. Interpreted fault dip angles show no evidence of other constraint (e.g. from the application of accepted fault dip models). Our results provide evidence of biases in interpretation of uncertain geological and geophysical data, including the use of heuristics to form initial conceptual models and anchoring to these models, confirming the need for increased understanding and mitigation of these biases to improve interpretation outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalSolid earth
DOIs
Publication statusSubmitted - 9 May 2019

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model uncertainty
seismic data
dip
Uncertainty
Anchors
heuristics
anchor
statistical analysis
horizon
Statistical methods
mitigation
uncertainty

Cite this

Alcalde, J., Bond, C. E., Johnson, G., Kloppenberg, A., Ferrer, O., Bell, R., & Ayarza, P. (2019). Fault interpretation in a vertically exaggerated seismic section: evidence of conceptual model uncertainty and anchoring. Manuscript submitted for publication. https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2019-66

Fault interpretation in a vertically exaggerated seismic section : evidence of conceptual model uncertainty and anchoring. / Alcalde, Juan; Bond, Clare E.; Johnson, Gareth; Kloppenberg, Armelle; Ferrer, Oriol; Bell, Rebecca; Ayarza, Puy.

In: Solid earth, 09.05.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alcalde, Juan ; Bond, Clare E. ; Johnson, Gareth ; Kloppenberg, Armelle ; Ferrer, Oriol ; Bell, Rebecca ; Ayarza, Puy. / Fault interpretation in a vertically exaggerated seismic section : evidence of conceptual model uncertainty and anchoring. In: Solid earth. 2019.
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