Friday, December 27, 2019

Deep Learning Shakes Up Geologists’ Tools

Fifteen years after a magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami struck off the coast of Indonesia, killing more than 200,000 people in over a dozen countries, geologists are still working to understand the complex fault systems that run through Earth’s crust. 

While major faults are easy for geologists to spot, these large features are connected to other, smaller faults and fractures in the rock. Identifying these smaller faults is painstaking, requiring weeks to study individual slices from a 3D image. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are shaking up the process with deep learning models that identify geologic fault systems from 3D seismic images, saving scientists time and resources. The developers used NVIDIA GPUs and synthetic data to train neural networks that spot small, subtle faults typically missed by human interpreters.