Being able to predict what hides beneath the earth’s surface is advantageous for anyone looking for oil or natural gas. But being able to see it in a 3D model is revolutionary.

That’s exactly what 3D seismic technology allows today’s geophysicists to do.

“It’s very similar to a sonogram,” says Steve Roche, Manager of Geophysics for oil and natural gas-exploration company Cimarex. “It’s a three-dimensional image we can look at side-to-side, top-to-bottom, and it’s really as simple as that.”

Seismic imaging reads sound waves, allowing it to note the density or porousness of a given layer of earth. This means it can measure and map which layer goes where and how dense each one is.

This data can then be used to predict which layers might contain hydrocarbons and even to precisely guide deep-underground drilling.

Computing advances made in recent years allow geophysicists to record tens of thousands of channels of information far quicker, bringing seismic technology to the forefront when it comes to the cutting edge of energy exploration.

 “Geophysics is important to the future of oil and natural gas in Oklahoma,” Roche says. “It improves efficiency, makes it easier to discern smaller targets, increases recovery efficiency and allows drillers to get more out of what is there.”