Lunchbox Geophysics

Coping with Really, Really Small (Micro) Seismic Signals

Peter Duncan

Peter Duncan
MicroSeismic, Inc

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 – 11:00 AM MST
Aquitaine Auditorium, +15 level of 540 - 5 Avenue SW

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LunchBox Geophysics is free! Simply bring your own lunch (refreshments provided) and enjoy.


The energy of a typical frac induced seismic event is about equal to that released when a can of pop, dropped from waist high, hits a cement floor. Locating the origin (hypocenter) of such an event presents a problem dear to the hearts of most geophysicists – finding small signals buried in huge noise. Solving this problem has become important as operators have come to appreciate the value of microseismic monitoring of hydraulic fracturing. One viable but often expensive solution is to place receivers close to the events, i.e. at reservoir depths. Another is to use geophones farther removed from the reservoir and then use the power of the stack to increase S/N. This lecture will discuss some of the current methods employed to approach this problem, their respective strengths and limitations and suggest future opportunities for improvements.


Peter Duncan is founding President of MicroSeismic, Inc. a Houston based geophysical service company. He holds a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Toronto. He began his career as an exploration geophysicist with Shell Canada before joining Digicon Geophysical, first in Calgary then in Houston. In 1987 he helped Digicon found ExploiTech Inc, an exploration and production consultancy. He was named President of ExploiTech when it became a subsidiary of Landmark Graphics in 1989. In 1992 he was one of 3 founders of 3DX Technologies Inc., an independent oil and gas exploration company where he served as Vice President and Chief Geophysicist. Duncan was 2003-04 President of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). Duncan was the Fall 2008 SEG/AAPG Distinguished Lecturer speaking on the subject of passive seismic at 45 venues around the world. He is a Life Member of SEG and an Honorary Member of the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG) and the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE).