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Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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tomography

1. n. [Geophysics]
A technique to measure and display the three-dimensional distribution of velocity or reflectivity of a volume of the Earth by using numerous sources and receivers. There are several types of tomography used by geophysicists, including transmission tomography (which uses measurements between boreholes, surface-to-surface, or between a borehole and the surface), reflection or seismic tomography (based on standard reflection seismology), and diffraction tomography (using Fermat's principle for computations instead of Snell's law). Variations in velocity can be attributed to changes in density and elastic properties of rocks, which in turn are affected by the increasing temperature with depth in the Earth. Tomographic techniques have been used to construct maps of the Earth's interior, deep in the mantle, as well as for mapping the shallow subsurface by borehole tomography.