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Seismic sections from extensional basins can be structurally transformed to produce restored seismic sections showing subsurface geology of the past. Restoration is achieved using a simple and effective algorithm, which is suited for use in an interactive seismic interpretation environment. Seismic data are resampled along paleovertical trajectories, which are the deformed equivalents of what were originally closely spaced vertical lines. Paleoverticals are generated within the present-day section as follows: (1) origin points are equally spaced along a reference horizon that corresponds to an original depositional surface, (2) paleovertical segments are vertical within fault blocks, (3) paleoverticals are offset across faults by the reference horizon slip, and (4) restor d depth is equated to distance down a paleovertical. These rules can be modified to conform with such styles of extensional deformation as vertical simple shear, inclined shear, or rigid rotation, and to account for compaction. Structures with complex fault patterns readily are restored. Several examples from the Gulf of Mexico and offshore west Africa show that seismic restoration is useful for (1) unravelling structural and stratigraphic history, (2) revealing tectonically masked features, and (3) checking interpretations across faults for seismic correlation and structural balance. Geologic sections can be restored in similar fashion.
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