Spectral Decomposition of the Capitan Reef and Salado Evaporites

Spectral Decomposition of the Capitan Reef and Salado Evaporites

Spectral Decomposition is a process that separates seismic data into frequency bands. The result shows the relative seismic amplitude within defined frequency bands. This is used to improve the resolution of thin bedding and show temporal bed thickness variability. The improvement is seen when wavelet length is spanning multiple subsurface layers, which results in a complex tuned reflection (Partyka, Gridley, & Lopez, 1999).


This image shows an RGB blend time slice over the Capitan reef next to dissolution features. The RGB blend is over 8, 15, and 30 HZ respectively. These tuning frequencies are determined by analyzing the peak amplitudes over each frequency band and focusing on the maximums. The dissolution features vary greatly throughout the area. Flexing along the reef margin may have caused fracturing that allowed for communication between the aquifer and Salado salt beds resulting in dissolution features that are highlighted here. (Anderson, 1981).

About the Author

Taylor McKay is Jr. Geophysicist focused on understanding the value that seismic attributes and rock properties bring to subsurface interpretation.


Anderson, R. Y. (1981). Deep-seated Salt Dissolution in the Delaware Basin, Texas and New Mexico. New Mexico Geological Society Special Publication Number 10, 133-145.

Partyka, G., Gridley, J., & Lopez, J. (1999). Interpretational applications of spectral decomposition in reservoir characterization. The Leading Edge, 353-360. doi:doi:10.1190/1.1438295

Nov 28, 2022

Industry Article


Taylor McKay, Fairfield Geotechologies Jr. Geophysicist

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

For actionable industry insight, technical expertise, capabilities, and superior service – follow all our updates, news and client alerts here.