Marine Geophysical Research

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 635–641 | Cite as

A comparative analysis of time–depth relationships derived from scientific ocean drilling expeditions

  • Isabel Sauermilch
  • Zenon Richard P. MateoEmail author
  • Jacopo Boaga
Original Research Paper


Time–depth relationships (TDR) are required for correlating geological information from drill sites with seismic reflection profiles. Conventional time–depth domain conversion is implemented using P-wave velocity data, derived from downhole sonic logs, calibrated with vertical seismic check-shots. During scientific ocean drilling expeditions, immediate seismic correlation is carried out using laboratory velocities measured on recovered core material. As these three velocity measurements vary significantly in signal frequency, resolution and acoustic pathways, they carry potential for substantial TDR differences and consequent miscorrelation to seismic profiles. Our analytical work uses the comprehensive scientific ocean drilling dataset to quantify these differences in core-seismic integration. TDRs are calculated and compared at sites where check-shot, sonic log, and laboratory velocity measurements cover the same depth segments of the drill hole. We find that the maximum differences between the TDRs (TDR \(diff_{max}\)) reach up to 55%, which can cause fundamental errors in the seismic correlation. No direct relationship to porosity and bulk density of the cored material is observed. Instead, higher TDR variability is found at sites with carbonate content > 70%, particularly with coarser grain texture. Sites containing primarily igneous and siliciclastic sequences show less than 10% TDR \(diff_{max}\). This semi-quantitative criterion indicates that downhole logging should be conducted during drilling expeditions, especially at sites with carbonate sequences, or low core recovery, to ensure accurate core-seismic integrations.


Time–depth relationship Scientific ocean drilling P-wave velocity measurement Seismic check-shot Downhole sonic log 



We are grateful to Kelvin S. Rodolfo and Joanne Whittaker for proof reading the article, and to Katharina Hochmuth for the constructive and helpful comments. We thank the reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. I.S. was supported under Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiative for Antarctic Gateway Partnership (Project ID SR140300001).

Supplementary material

11001_2019_9393_MOESM1_ESM.docx (668 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 667 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Sauermilch
    • 1
  • Zenon Richard P. Mateo
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jacopo Boaga
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Dipartimento di GeoscienzeUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPaduaItaly

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