Over the course of 150 years, more than 2 million wells have been built worldwide with the goal of extracting natural gas and oil to be used as an energy source. While early explorers and researchers used seepages to determine where to drill, modern-day scientists and engineers have access to aerial photography, topographical maps, three-dimensional projections, and sound wave technology to help them expertly identify formations filled with natural gas and oil.
In particular, an acoustic survey allows explorers to fire acoustic pulses through rocks and record the echoes and bounce back in sounds. This data is then used to determine the number and different types of layers and depths within a single structure of rock. Scientists and researchers are looking specifically at the length of time a sound pulse echoes off an underground rock to create two- and three-dimensional maps that highlight potential reservoirs and traps for drilling.