A (useless) map of geo-mathematics

Most scientific problems involve at least a bit of maths, even if it’s just adding things up or finding averages.But some problems require quite a bit of maths, like solving an equation, or throwing vectors around, or even a Fourier transform or two. A lot of people switch off at this point.Yet other problems require a lot of maths. Maybe we need a finite difference model, a volume integral, or a deep neural network. Most…

Continue reading


A (useless) map of geo-mathematics

Most scientific problems involve at least a bit of maths, even if it’s just adding things up or finding averages.But some problems require quite a bit of maths, like solving an equation, or throwing vectors around, or even a Fourier transform or two. A lot of people switch off at this point.Yet other problems require a lot of maths. Maybe we need a finite difference model, a volume integral, or a deep neural network. Most…

Continue reading


Which programming language should you learn first?

The question I get asked most often is: “I want to learn to code, where should I start?” To which there’s really no perfect answer. It depends on a lot of things… Why do you want to learn to program? What domain are you in? Have you tried before? Do you like computers? Do your colleagues use anything in particular? Undeterred by the futility, and inspired by an awesome blog post on freecodecamp.org, which advises…

Continue reading


A forensic audit of seismic data

The SEG-Y “standard” is famously non-standard. (Those air quotes are actually part of the “standard”.)For example, the inline and crossline location of a given trace — two things that you must have in order to load the data vaguely properly — are “recommended” (remember, it’s a “standard”) to be given in the trace’s header, at byte locations 189 and 193 respectively. Indeed, they might well be there. Or 1 and 5 (well, 5 or 9). Or somewhere…

Continue reading


Transformation in 2021

Virtual confererences have become — for now — the norm. In many ways they are far better than traditional conferences: accessible to all, inexpensive to organize and attend, asynchronous, recorded, and no-one has to fly 5,000 km to deliver a PowerPoint. In other ways, they fall short, for example as a way to meet new collaborators or socialize with old ones. As face-to-face meetings become a possibility again this summer, smart organizations will figure out ways to…

Continue reading


All the wedges

Wedges are a staple of the seismic interpreter’s diet. These simple little models show at a glance how two seismic reflections interact with each other when a rock layer thins down to — and below — the resolution limit of the data. We can also easily study how the interaction changes as we vary the wavelet’s properties, especially its frequency content.Here’s how to make and plot a basic wedge model with Python in the latest…

Continue reading


The hot rock hack is back

Last year we ran the first ever Geothermal Hackathon. As with all things, we started small, but energetic: fourteen of us worked on six projects. Topics ranged from project management to geological mapping to natural language processing. It was a fun two days not thinking about coronavirus.This year we’ll be meeting up on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 May, starting right after the Geoscience Virtual Event of the World Geothermal Congress. Everyone is invited — geoscientists,…

Continue reading


Which open licence should I choose?

I’ve written about open data a few times recently. And not-so-recently. And there’s been quite a bit of chat about open subsurface benchmarks in the Software Underground recently. As more people consider openly releasing data — or code, or other content — one question comes up fairly often is: Which licence should I choose?I’ll start at the beginning, and I am not a lawyer, but this is going to be very high level. So do…

Continue reading


The procedural generation of geology

Procedural generation is a way of faking stuff with computers. But by writing code, or otherwise defining algorithms — not by manually choosing or composing or sculpting things. It’s used to produce landscapes and other assets in computer games, or just to make beautiful things. Honestly, I know almost nothing about it, and I don’t play computer games, so I’m really just coming at it from the ‘beautiful things’ side. So let’s just stick to…

Continue reading


What is an Ormsby wavelet anyway?

If you dabble in reflection seismic analysis, you probably know the Ricker wavelet. We’ve visited it a few times on this blog — Evan once showed how to make and plot one, I looked at some analytic properties of it, and we even played golf with it.The Ricker is everywhere, but it has an important limitation — bandwidth. Its shape in the frequency domain is roughly Gaussian (below, left), which is the reason it only really has…

Continue reading