1. n. [Geophysics]
Abbreviation for amplitude variation with offset. Variation in seismic reflection amplitude with change in distance between shotpoint and receiver that indicates differences in lithology and fluid content in rocks above and below the reflector. AVO analysis is a technique by which geophysicists attempt to determine thickness, porosity, density, velocity, lithology and fluid content of rocks. Successful AVO analysis requires special processing of seismic data and seismic modeling to determine rock properties with a known fluid content. With that knowledge, it is possible to model other types of fluid content. A gas-filled sandstone might show increasing amplitude with offset, whereas a coal might show decreasing amplitude with offset. A limitation of AVO analysis using only P-energy is its failure to yield a unique solution, so AVO results are prone to misinterpretation. One common misinterpretation is the failure to distinguish a gas-filled reservoir from a reservoir having only partial gas saturation ("fizz water"). However, AVO analysis using source-generated or mode-converted shear wave energy allows differentiation of degrees of gas saturation. AVO analysis is more successful in young, poorly consolidated rocks, such as those in the Gulf of Mexico, than in older, well-cemented sediments.
Alternate Form: amplitude variation with offset