Data analysis starts with input seismic field files (also called records) usually in SEG-2 format, which is an engineering standard. The entire steps can be divided into pre- and main- process steps as illustrated by a generalized flowchart on the right.
This is an optional step that may or may not be required depending on the specific analysis software being used, and also on the actions taken during data acquisition (for example, whether or not the acquisition geometry information was previously encoded during data acquisition).
Internal Format: Depending on the specific analysis software, the input data set in SEG-2 is often converted into a proprietary format of the software as the very first step of the processing. This may take place internally with the software or requires a separate preparation of the converted data set.
Source/Receiver (SR) Setup: All field files (records) have to possess correct information about acquisition geometry such as surface coordinates of source and receivers. Although this information is often encoded by acquisition software during data acquisition in the field, it is usually encoded (or re-encoded) through a data processing step provided by the analysis software.
This is a required step that performs theoretical analysis of surface waves contained in input seismic data set with proper field geometry information.
Dispersion Analysis (Step 1 of 2: Generation of Dispersion Images): This generate one dispersion image (often called overtone) from one field record by using a proper 2-D wavefield transformation method (e.g., phase-shift method, tau-pi trasformation, f-k, etc.).
Dispersion Analysis (Step 2 of 2: Extraction of Dispersion Curve): This extracts one fundamental-mode (M0) dispersion curve from each of the dispersion image (overtone) generated in the previous step. This curve is called a "measured M0 curve."
Inversion of Dispersion Curve (M0): This tries to find a 1-D shear-wave velocity (Vs) model (i.e., Vs variation with depth) whose theoretical dispersion curve (M0) best matches the measured M0 curve.
The final output is a 1-D velocity (Vs) profile for each field record. If input data set contained field record(s) obtained by using a stationary receiver array, then there will be only one 1-D Vs profile obtained as output. On the other hand, if multiple field records obtained at successively different locations along a survey line were used as an input data set, then multiple 1-D velocity (Vs) profiles will be generated at the end. In this case, a 2-D interpolation scheme is used to generate a 2-D velocity (Vs) cross section as output.