US Army Corps of Engineers
Galveston District

What is a seismic survey?

Published May 1, 2012

Q:  What is a seismic survey?

A. Seismic surveys are conducted by sending a seismic wave, generated by an energy source, into the subsurface of the earth and recording the reflection wave back on the earth’s surface. The intensity and timing of the reflected wave are used to three-dimensionally map the subsurface geologic features to the desired depth, and these maps are used to assess geological features that could potentially contain hydrocarbon reserves deep below the earth’s surface.

Q:  Please provide the details of the upcoming meeting tomorrow to include who is hosting this meeting, where it will be held, and at what time.

A. Interested residents who have been notified of this project were also apprised of a public meeting hosted by the applicant (Samson Lone Star, LL).  This meeting is not a United States Army Corps of Engineers sponsored event.  The meeting is intended to address property owner surface use permits (which would be outside of the scope of Corps jurisdiction) and any specific concerns regarding the proposed seismic project.  The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 at 6 p.m. at the Moody Gardens Convention Center, Seven Hope Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77554.

In addition, the applicant has set up a Web page to allow the public to submit comments on the Bolivar 3-D for consideration prior to the public meeting. The Web address is www.samson.com/BolivarPublicMeeting.html.

Q:  Which area did the original survey include and where is it expanding to?

A. This is considered to be a modification of an existing Department of the Army permit.  The original authorization, Permit Number SWG-2009-00233, was issued to Global Geophysical Services, Inc. on Oct. 20, 2010.  To date, no survey work has been conducted.

The new applicant is proposing to expand the project area from 102 square miles to 495 square miles.  They also propose to increase the previously authorized shot hole depth, from 100 feet to 110 feet, increase the explosive charge from 5.5 pounds to 11 pounds, and to modify other technical project components.  They are proposing to modify the timeframe from winter operations to operations spanning all seasons.

Q:  Where will the seismic survey take place?

A. The original authorization covered a 102 square mile area encompassing all of Bolivar Peninsula and some of the surrounding open water of the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay. The proposed revised project area covers the original 102 square miles but has expanded to a 495 square –mile area and now incorporates a larger part of open water areas in both the Gulf and the bay. The project is scheduled to begin in April of 2011 and it is estimated that it will take 9-12 months to complete.

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