Portable Seismic Crews (Dynamite)

                         A beautiful country of very friendly and diverse people living in a paradise that ranges from tropical Caribbean beaches, lush forests and jungles, to snowy peaks in the high andes. I lived and worked in this country for a year and a half. During this time I helped manage seismic crews in every type of land operation available. We acquired 3D and 2D in the desert areas of the north western states, in the jungles of the southern states and in the swamps of the eastern states (Orinoco delta and river). I managed crews that ranged from 30 people to 228 people. During this year and a half I learned a great deal about camp logistics and managing people.

Camp in Casigua del Cubo, Zulia.

redtentsThe operation of a seismic crew is very demanding offering a very diverse work environment. Getting involved with both managerial and geophysical aspects of the operation was inevitable.

I am fluent in the Spanish language and understand the Latin American Culture. My supervisors would send me ahead to ease the arrival of the crew. Working ahead of the crew I was responsible for camp logistics in the pre-planning stages. My job consisted in locating potential areas for our camps and working with the local authorities to plan, design and build the camps. I participated in the hiring of local workers and established business relations with local suppliers of our basic needs: fuel, water, food, building supplies, medicines… etc.

medrilling1I assisted in coordinating these three work fronts; Surveying, Drilling, and Recording. We decided where the different work fronts started and how to maintain enough lead between them.

Survey crews used GPS (Trimbles) to establish a 1st order grid encompassing tens to hundreds of square kilometers. From these control points thousands of source and receiver points were surveyed in and flagged.


The drill crews then drilled the source locations and loaded them with a dynamite charge. Different equipment was required. Depending on terrain, we used amphibious vehicles, small boats, articulated buggies, helicopters, tractors and (man) portable crews.

The recording crews then laid out receiver strings with groups of geophones. Once a recording patch was laid out, shooting teams walked the source lines detonating the dynamite at synchronized times. These detonations created a wave front which was detected by the geophones and recorded. We QC’d (quality controlled) the resulting data and made changes to the survey design, hole depth, charge size … etc, as required.