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Marine seismic reflection survey, a schematic with a representative seismic section.

At sea, large arrays of airguns (mechanical sources that rapidly eject compressed air) provide the sound energy which is detected by many hydrophone sensors typically forming a 3.5 km long, 240-channel streamer that is about 10 cm in diameter and towed behind the ship. Sensor outputs and other essential information are recorded by an onboard computer system.
Sophisticated computer processing of the vast quantities of data is necessary before the optimal subsurface images of geological structure are obtained. The first phase of such processing is again done through contracts awarded on the basis of competitive bidding to specifications prepared by LITHOPROBE seismologists.

But only then do the experts really get to work. It's complicated stuff, a highly sophisticated "fine tuning" of processing parameters, and careful "massaging" of many.htmlects of the huge volume of seismic reflection data. This comes into play at different stages of processing, and can significantly augment the geological and other information that can be derived from the data. The second phase of processing addresses these.htmlects through selective reprocessing of the data.

In this, the LITHOPROBE Seismic Processing Facility at the University of Calgary and Seismic Research Nodes established at nine universities across the country, plus the major facility developed at the Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa and subsidiary facilities at offices on the east and west coasts, are key contributors.

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