On-ice vibroseis and snowstreamer systems for geoscientific research

Olaf.Eisen [ at ] awi.de


We present implementations of vibroseis system configurations with a snowstreamer for over-ice long-distance seismic traverses (>100 km). The configurations have been evaluated in Antarctica on ice sheet and ice shelf areas in the period 2010–2014. We discuss results of two different vibroseis sources: Failing Y-1100 on skis with a peak force of 120 kN in the frequency range 10–110 Hz; IVI EnviroVibe with a nominal peak force of 66 kN in the nominal frequency range 10–300 Hz. All measurements used a well-established 60 channel 1.5 km snowstreamer for the recording. Employed forces during sweeps were limited to less than 80% of the peak force. Maximum sweep frequencies, with a typical duration of 10 s, were 100 and 250 Hz for the Failing and EnviroVibe, respectively. Three different concepts for source movement were employed: the Failing vibrator was mounted with wheels on skis and pulled by a Pistenbully snow tractor. The EnviroVibe was operated self-propelled on Mattracks on the Antarctic plateau. This lead to difficulties in soft snow. For later implementations the EnviroVibe with tracks was put on a polyethylene (PE) sled. The sled had a hole in the center to lower the vibrator baseplate directly onto the snow surface. With the latter setup, data production varied between 20 km/day for 6-fold and 40 km/day for single fold for 9 h/day of measurements. The combination of tracks with the PE-sled was especially advantageous on hard and rough surfaces because of the flexibility of each component and the relatively lose mounting. The systems presented here are suitable to obtain data of subglacial and sub-seabed sediment layers and englacial layering in comparable quality as obtained from marine geophysics and land-based explosive surveys. The large offset aperture of the streamer overcomes limitations of radar systems for imaging of steep along-track subglacial topography. With joint international scientific and logistic efforts, large-scale mapping of Antarctica's and Greenland's subglacial geology, ice-shelf cavity geometries and sea-bed strata, as well as englacial structures can be achieved.

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DOI 10.1016/j.polar.2014.10.003

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Eisen, O. , Hofstede, C. , Diez, A. , Kristoffersen, Y. , Lambrecht, A. , Mayer, C. , Blenkner, R. and HILMARSSON, S. Æ. (2015): On-ice vibroseis and snowstreamer systems for geoscientific research , Polar Science, 9 , pp. 51-65 . doi: 10.1016/j.polar.2014.10.003

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