In this study, seismic models and a Starfak and Tiger Shoal fields data set in the Gulf of Mexico Basin are used to investigate uncertainties caused by the frequency dependence of seismic data and solutions for avoiding pitfalls in seismic-stratigraphic and facies interpretation. Seismic amplitude and instantaneous attributes, along with stratigraphic interpretation of these attributes, are controlled by seismic interference, or tuning, between thin geologic units. Seismic-tuning effects include thickness tuning and frequency tuning, which cause nonlinear variations of reflection amplitude and instantaneous seismic attributes with thickness and/or data frequency. Seismic modeling shows that, whereas thickness tuning determines seismic-interference patterns and, therefore, occurrence of seismic events and seismic facies in layered rock, frequency tuning may further influence the nature of the correlation of seismic data and geologic time and modify seismic facies. Frequency dependence offers a new dimension of seismic data, which has not been fully used in seismic interpretation of geology.
Field-data examples demonstrate that a stratigraphic formation is typically composed of lithofacies of varying thicknesses, and a broadband, stacked seismic data set is not necessarily optimal for stratigraphic and facies interpretation. Although it is difficult to predict correct frequency components for interpretation of not-yet-known geologic targets, local geologic models and well data can be used to optimize the frequency components of seismic data to a certain degree and intentionally modify seismic-interference patterns and seismic facies for better seismic interpretation of geologic surfaces, sediment-dispersal patterns, geomorphology, and sequence stratigraphy.