Saturday, August 8, 2009

Seismic Testing: Up Close and Personal

Thanks to a Splashdown reader, here's a look at what all the plastic ribbons hanging everywhere are all about:
Geokinetics' brocure answers FAQs, beginning with What is a 3-D Seismic Survey? It is a method of geophysical exploration, using sound waves from an energy source to determine information about sub-surface formations. Sound waves are used to penetrate the ground, in the same way a submarine's sonar penetrates the water. Sonar reflects back and detects objects underwater. In the case of a 3-D seismic survery, the sound waves are used to map rock layers deep underground.
Click on brochure images to enlarge for readability.

The company distributes their brochure, and proffers the following permit, for exploration rights, to surface owners.
(Click to enlarge.)
The map below indicates a parcel of land that is not leased to the gas industry, and the locations of seismic "sources"(location of explosives) and "receivers" (listening devices) connected to a recording truck by cables several miles long. Sometimes vibroseis equipment (a thumper truck) is used as a source instead of explosives.

(Click to enlarge.)

The land is surveyed and marked with locations for sources and receiver points.

These trucks travel the contracted property, and dig the shot holes.

Sometimes collateral damage occurs as well.

Pictured above is a stake marking the location of a "source".
Note the thin red-orange sensor cable attached.
Buried explosives are detonated one at a time.

Finally "all shot holes will be plugged to state specifications."



  1. This post is really great! The pictures are very helpful. Seismic testing does not find natural gas as I used to think. It finds geological areas with the potential for reserves of gas. Geokinetics is making a killing blasting all over the place- 96 detonations per square mile- and then selling the information to gas companies. They pay a paltry $5 per acre to land owners. This is considered speculative work, and they test leased and unleased land. Gas companies use the results to further pressure landowners during the unitization phase of the drilling process. (A unit is 640 acres.) After the testing, the company is supposed to remove ALL ribbons and other debris. If left in the woods and fields, animals may try to eat them and can die.

    I would never allow Geokinetics on my property, that's for sure!

  2. Bradford County is a rural area. Why would anyone want underground blasting done all over the place?

  3. These photo's were taken 100 feet from my property line. The original sources, as seen from the Seismic plan map, were to be placed on my property for a mere $5.00 per acre. Are you kidding me? These photo's were taken approximately 3 weeks ago and the dynamite stills remains down the charge holes. This industry continues to be completely irresponsible, continues to accept no responsibility for their actions, and continues to enjoy protections and exemptions from every environmental law meant to protect you and I and every citizen of the United States.

    On another note, I just read an editorial named "Call of the Cowbirds". Cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds nests to let the unsuspecting foster bird hatch and raise their young. Recognize any similarities between the Cowbird and the Natural gas industry???? Do I hear taking advantage of unknowing individuals, claiming no responsibility for what they sow, etc? What a great analogy! Wake up people, You can't drink dollar bills (And if you haven't noticed, the dollar isn't worth anything anyway). Demand Accountability!

  4. What a bunch of environuts, You people need to get a life and a job apparrently! and no I'm not a gas co employ , just a PA landowner thats tired of you tree huggers trying to tell me what i can and can't do with my land

  5. We didn't sign for the seismic, and boy am I glad. Our neighbors have had wires strung and ribbons hanging for over 3 months now. The tracked vehicle ran over our fresh dust oil on the roads, and continued to run the roads instead of being hauled on a trailer until the state police insured they understood that this was illegal via citations. The dynamite trucks travel at an unsafe speed, and I've been told that dynamite has also been hauled illegally on the incorrect vehicles, but without proof...The helicopters fly right over your head whether you've signed up or not, barely missing the treetops with their loads. And guys are popping into and out of the woods everywhere. Talk about your privace!

    You don't need to be a treehugger or an environut to dislike 3D seismic work being done.


  7. You stated above: "What is a dollar worth anymore anyway?" How about fifty thousand of those a month for 7-8 years? You people are ridiculous! Move somewhere else and buy a water purification system if you don't like it. Hell, all of the water we drink now days is polluted. If you leave a plastic bottled water in the sunlight the sun's UV rays realease a toxin from the plastic because plastic is the most harmful thing on the planet, NOT OIL AND GAS! You are all hypocrites, YOU DRIVE A CAR THAT USES OIL AND GAS! When you trade in your honda for a Trek or horse and buggy, then you can get on here and dog oil and gas! Have a wonderful and polluted life!

  8. Every one aganist the gas and oil companies need to just stop and think a little bit about what is actually going on. I used to work for a seismic company before switching over to an actuall gas drilling rig. Everything these people are doing is going to be great for the economy. It is going to start saving people a bunch of money. Why don't all of you people who think that this is the worst thing in the world just start to grow the hell up and think about what is actually happening. Just think you might be the idiot who is sitting on their porch one day while your neighbor is getting a well put on their land and making a lot of money, while you just sat back and complained about everything. Think about it!

  9. Let me start by saying, that, as a person with experience in, and an association with the seismic industry, there are numerous accusations being made. These are being made on obviously uninformed information. When a lease for seismic testing is signed, the land-owner is informed of the procedures that will take place, and the equipment that will be used. They are also informed of the monetary value that will be paid to them for the right to perform this testing. If a property owner develops a problem with anything that is taking place on there land, Geokinetics and the drilling company takes any and all action to satisfy the land owner. The practices that are referred to as being wrong and harmful, are being made by people who do not agree with natural gas exploration, that's why they didn't sign a lease or contract, but, that doesn't mean they have the right to dictate what other landowners do with their property. On another note, the pictures that were taken, and subsequently described, were not entirely accurate. Getting the facts straight before confronting someone or an industry would be a good idea on your behalf if you are going to try to make a valid argument. To those who do work in the seismic industry, best of luck, its a good job, with many rewards, and many satisfied landowners,....contrary to this web-sites belief.

  10. It is good to hear all sides of the story. Having spent nearly 20 years in the environmental industry, I know first hand what companies are willing to overlook to make big money. This can be great for the economy but we must approach it with a level head and an eye for the future. To distroy this pristine area for the sake of money alone is not justification enough for me. Extraction of this natural wealth will happen and it is a good thing but lets just think what we are doing and do it responsibly.

  11. I live in Susquehanna county where they are currently doing a lot of this seismic testing. I didn’t have a problem with this operation until I saw all the mexicans there bringing in. Now they might be legal im not sure but the least they can do is speak English when there running through the woods yelling back and fourth. I was doing a scrap metal job for a friend, I left 2 chains on the job and when i came back the chains were gone. I know it was the seismic crew that took them because there was fresh tracks from one of those machines. payback is a bitc*

    Anyways, I would say other than the environmental aspect of this seismic stuff another problem may be a bunch of mexicans that don’t speak English invading your privacy and stealing your stuff.

  12. For the destructive jerks that are pro gas drilling on here...yes, we land owners do have a choice when our neighbors decide to destroy our right to peace and tranquility. There's a law that's now being enacted and lawsuits are starting against the neighbors that have their property drilled next to people that want the AMERICAN CITIZEN right to what they got when they purchased their own land. SUE YOUR NEIGHBOR! Get your neighbors payments and make them regret they ever signed that lease. That's how we do it. Look for an environmental lawyer and they'll be glad to start this HUGE movement that's going to take down the gas drilling industry in our back yard!

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