Dr Derecke Palmer
Honorary Senior Lecturer
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 2961 or (M) 0414 429 400

Room 624, D26 Building
UNSW, Kensington 2052

Research & Current Projects

Derecke Palmer is a leading international authority on near surface seismic refraction methods.  He is the originator of the generalized reciprocal method (GRM) and the refraction convolution section (RCS).

His current research interests are largely focussed on the processing of full waveform seismic refraction data with Seismic Unix, in order to generate detailed compressional and shear wave models of the near surface.  These methods can be applied to statics corrections for seismic reflection data, especially where the weathering and sub-weathering are complex and where low signal-to-noise ratios occur, such as sand dunes, windy environments or near infrastructure.  Other applications include the extraction of detailed traveltime and amplitude attributes, in order to facilitate more comprehensive characterization of the near-surface for geotechnical, exploration and natural resource management, and to generate detailed starting models for traveltime and full waveform inversion.  Coming research projects include the computation of amplitude statics, in order to improve AVO analyses in carbonate reservoirs in arid environments.

The compilation of the extended abstracts for the 21st ASEG Conference and Exhibition in Sydney in August, 2010, “New Directions for Near Surface Refraction Seismology” provides a useful summary of recent research projects.  The manuscript “Characterizing the Near-Surface with Common Offset Seismic Refraction Attributes” describes innovative processing methods applied to multi-fold CMP refraction data. Non-uniqueness is covered in "'Uncertainty in Refraction Inversion - A GRM Strategy" , "Palmer-SAGEEP2012" and "Palmer-SAGEEP2012 - Workshop". Validating vertical velocity gradients in near-surface refraction seismology is covered in "Palmer-SAGEEP2013".

The short course “Characterizing the Near Surface with Seismic Refraction Attributes,” provides an introduction to the GRM and RCS.  A portion of the short course notes is available as “The Mt Bulga Tutorial.”



GEOS2051 Introductory Geophysics

GEOS3331 Petroleum Reservoir Geophysics

GEOS3371 Advanced Topics in Petroleum Geoscience



Palmer, D., 2006, Refraction traveltime and amplitude corrections for very near-surface inhomogeneities. Geophysical Prospecting 54, 589-604.

Palmer, D., 2008a. Is it time to re-engineer geotechnical seismic refraction methods?First Break 26(8), 69-77.

Palmer, D., 2008b. Non-Uniqueness in near-surface refraction inversion. In: Xu, Y. X., Xia, J. H., eds., Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, Wuhan, China. Science Press, Beijing. 42–54.

Palmer, D., and Shadlow, J., 2008c, Integrating long and short wavelength statics with the generalized reciprocal method and the refraction convolution section: Exploration Geophysics 39, 139-147.

Palmer D. 2009a. Maximising the lateral resolution of near-surface seismic refraction methods: Exploration Geophysics 40, 85–90; Butsuri-Tansa 62, 85–90; Mulli-Tamsa 12, 85–90.

Palmer, D., 2009b. Integrating long and short wavelength time and amplitude statics.First Break 27(6), 57-65.

Palmer D. 2009c. Exploiting the lateral resolution of near-surface seismic refraction methods:China Journal of Earth Science20(3), 526–545. DOI: 10.1007/s12583-009-0044-x

Palmer, D., 2010a, Non-uniqueness with refraction inversion – a synclinal model study:Geophysical Prospecting 58, 203-218.

Palmer, D., 2010b, Non-uniqueness with refraction inversion – the Mt Bulga shear zone. Geophysical Prospecting 58, 561-575.

Palmer, D., 2010c, Are refraction attributes more useful than refraction tomography?:First Break 28, 43–52.

Palmer, D., 2010d, Characterizing the near surface with detailed refraction attributes. inR. D Miller, J. H. Bradford and K. Hollinger, eds., Advances in near-surface seismology and ground-penetrating radar: SEG Geophysical Development Series No. 15, Chapter 14, 233-250.

Palmer, D., 2010e, Is visual interactive ray trace an efficacious strategy for refraction inversion? Exploration Geophysics 41, 260-267.

Palmer, D., 2011, Response to comments by Robert J. Whiteley on: Palmer, D., 2010. Is visual interactive ray trace an efficacious strategy for refraction inversion? Exploration Geophysics 41, 260-267: Exploration Geophysics 42, 218–226.