Must-read geophysics

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An informal and opinionated list of articles, papers, books, blogs, that all exploration and reservoir geophysicists should read. No idea where to draw the line; it's highly subjective. It may be best to favour more useful, readable treatments over earlier, more original ones. The list should probably not be longer than about 100 papers. Not at all sure how to organize it... we will see what happens.

Please include a {{Wikipedia:Digital object identifier|DOI}} when you can. To get a permalink to the resource, use the {{DOI}} template like this example: {{doi|10.1190/1.1440994}}. You can usually find the DOI on the print copy or on the publisher's website.


  • Blau, L (1936). Black magic in geophysical prospecting. Geophysics 1 (1), p 1–8. The first paper in Geophysics and one of the best you'll ever read.
  • Kallweit, R & L Wood (1982), The limits of reoslution of zero-phase wavelets. Geophysics 47 (7), p 1035–1046.
  • Taner, MT, F Koehler & R Sheriff (1979), Complex seismic trace analysis, Geophysics 44, 1041, DOI: 10.1190/1.1440994
  • Thomsen, L (1986). Weak elastic anisotropy. Geophysics 51 (10), p 1954–1966.
  • Widess, M (1973). How thin is a thin bed? Geophysics 38 (6), 1176–1180. Available online.


  • Cooper, N (2004). A world of reality—designing land 3D programs for signal, noise, and prestack migration: a 2-part tutorial. The Leading Edge 23, October and December.


  • Russell, B (1998). A simple seismic imaging exercise. The Leading Edge 17, p 885. DOI: 10.1190/1.1438059


  • Bahorich, M and S Farmer (1995). The coherence cube. The Leading Edge 14, p 1053–1058.
  • Barnes, A (2007). Redundant and useless seismic attributes. Geophysics 72 (3), p P33–P38, DOI:10.1190/1.2716717
  • Barnes, A (2006). Too many seismic attributes. CSEG Recorder, March 2006 — Available online.
  • Bond, C, et al (2007), What do you think this is? "Conceptual uncertainty" in geoscience interpretation. GSA Today 17 (11), DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01711A.1.
  • Brown, A (2001). Calibrate yourself to your data! A Vital first step in interpretation. Geophysics Prospecting 49, p 729–733.
  • Liner, C (2002). Phase, phase, phase. The Leading Edge 21, p 456–7.
  • Roden, R and H Sepulveda (1999). The significance of phase to the interpreter: practical guidelines for phase analysis. The Leading Edge 18, July 1999, p 774–777.
  • Simm, R and R White (2002), Tutorial: Phase, polarity and the interpreter's wavelet. First Break 20 (5), p 277–281. Available online.
  • White R, and R Simm (2003). Tutorial: Good practice in well ties. First Break 21 (10), p 75–83. Available online.

Perhaps less basic, but must-read all the same:

  • Cartwright, J, M Huuse & A Aplin (2007), Seal bypass systems. AAPG Bulletin 91 (8), p 1141–1166.
  • Partyka, G, J Gridley & J Lopez (1999), Interpretational applications of spectral decomposition in reservoir characterization. The Leading Edge 18, March 1999, p 353–360.
  • Stewart, S (1999), Seismic interpretation of circular geological structures. Petroleum Geoscience 5, p 273–285.


  • Castagna, J, M Batzle, and T Kan (1993), Rock Physics - The Link Between Rock Properties and AVO Response. In Castagna, J and M Backus, eds. Offset-Dependent Reflectivity—Theory and Practice of AVO Analysis, 1993, p 135–171, DOI: 10.1190/1.9781560802624.
  • Castagna, J & H Swan (1997). Principles of AVO crossplotting. The Leading Edge 16, April 1997
  • Connolly, P (1999), Elastic impedance. The Leading Edge 18, April 1999, p 438–452.
  • Fatti, J, et al (1994). Detection of gas in sandstone reservoirs using AVO analysis: A 3D case history using the Geostack technique. Geophysics 59 (9), p 1362–1376.
  • Foster, D, R Keys & J Reilly (1997). Another perpsective on AVO crossplotting. The Leading Edge 16, September 1997.
  • Han, D, A Nur, and D Morgan (1986), Effects of porosity and clay content on wave velocities in sandstones. Geophysics, November 1986, p 2093–2107, DOI: 10.1190/1.1442062.
  • Ross, C (2000). Tutorial: Effective AVO crossplot modeling. Geophysics 65 (3), p 700–711.
  • Simm, R, R White, and R Uden (2000), The anatomy of AVO crossplots. The Leading Edge 19, February 2000, p 150–155.




See also