Using Seismic Wavefields to Monitor Geological Targets
Andre Revil and Paul C. Sava
Summary: A method to image geological mediums using seismic wavefields
Description: Researchers at the Colorado School of Mines have found a way to use seismic
wavefields to monitor geological targets. These wavefields can be focused at known positions
and times in a heterogeneous medium. Seismoelectric conversion occurs if the acoustic focus
point coincides with a heterogeneity in the properties of the porous material (porosity,
permeability, fluid properties, etc.), thus generating a source current density. This current in
turn generates an electrical field, which can be observed remotely (at most 1 km away) by an
array of monitoring electrodes. Since the acoustic wavefield is precisely located at a position
and time, this electrical source behaves like a controlled virtual electrode whose properties
depend on the strength of the acoustic wavefield and on the medium properties. This
procedure can be used to increase the robustness and resolutions of electrical resistivity and
seismic tomographies and to identify hydrological parameters at various points in the medium
by scanning the medium by changing the position of the acoustic focus point. The
seismoelectric effect is sensitive to the presence of fluids in rock pores, thus providing a rare
opportunity to characterize fluid saturation, rock permeability, and other phenomena that
cannot be observed just with elastic waves.
Main Advantages of this Invention:
 Increases accuracy of underground monitoring compared to current methods
 Can be used up to 1 km away
 Procedure is inexpensive
Potential Areas of Application:
 Oil fracking and exploration
 Geological monitoring for environmental purposes
 Groundwater exploration
ID number: 13009
Intel ectual Property Status: US utility patent pending (application #14/055,574)
Opportunity: We are seeking an exclusive or non-exclusive licensee for implementation of this
For more information contact:
William Vaughan, Director of Technology Transfer
Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois Street, Guggenheim Hall Suite 314, Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-2555; e-mail: