Properties of a deep seismic waveguide measured with an optical fiber

Ariel Lellouch, Ettore Biondi, Biondo L. Biondi, Bin Luo, Ge Jin, Mark A. Meadows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low-velocity zones located deep in the subsurface can act as seismic waveguides. Traditionally, their experimental observation has been limited by the practical challenges of in situ recording. We use a measurement technique in which optical fibers are turned into seismic sensors. The fiber is deployed along a horizontal well drilled inside a 15-m-thin shale formation at a depth of about 2 km. Owing to the high-resolution recording of the optical fiber, we can distinctly observe three previously elusive guided wave modes over a wide frequency range. As their propagation is primarily confined to the waveguide and strongly depends on its seismic properties, such guided waves hold tremendous potential for high-resolution imaging of deep low-velocity structures, such as fault zones, saline aquifers, and hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013164
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


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