Beginning in the early 1960s ChevronTexaco acquired seismic data to image and evaluate the geologic potential of the west coast U.S. continental shelf for oil and gas. "Over the decades, the magnetic tapes containing the seismic data have been stored in special warehouses but they are rapidly approaching the point where they will no longer be viable. The data needs to be transferred to a new digital recording medium to preserve this unique, irreplaceable asset, otherwise it will be permanently lost," said Dr. Donald Paul, ChevronTexaco vice president and chief technology officer.
"The data is a valuable resource for understanding the offshore structural geology, marine sedimentation and even the mapping of the complex fault systems associated with earthquakes, particularly in Southern California," said Stephen Testa, president, American Geological Institute.
This data transfer came about through the cooperative efforts of ChevronTexaco, the USGS, and AGI. Bill Kempner, a geophysicist for ChevronTexaco in Bakersfield, California teamed up with Jon Childs, a geophysicist at the USGS, Menlo Park, California, and Christopher Keane, Director of Technology and Communications at the American Geological Institute to come up with a plan to preserve the data and move it into the public domain for future educational and scientific use.
"The earth science research community is already showing a high level of interest in gaining access to these offshore images. The plan is to begin the initial transfer of more than 30,000 tapes immediately. The expectation is that this data resource will enable years of geological and geophysical research to expand our knowledge of the continental shelf area," said Dr. Charles Groat, director, U.S. Geological Survey.
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