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GEOPHYSICS, VOL. 58, NO. 3 (MARCH 1993), P. 419-428, 7 FIGS.

Instantaneous spectral bandwidth and dominant frequency


with applications to seismic reflection data

Arthur E. Barnes*

ABSTRACT
Fourier power spectra are often usefully characterized by average measures. In reflection seismology,
the important average measures are center frequency,
spectral bandwidth, and dominant frequency. These
quantities have definitions familiar from probability
theory: center frequency is the spectral mean, spectral
bandwidth is the standard deviation about that mean,
and dominant frequency is the square root of the
second moment, which serves as an estimate of the
zero-crossing frequency. These measures suggest
counterparts defined with instantaneous power spectra
in place of Fourier power spectra, so that they are
instantaneous in time though they represent averages
in frequency. Intuitively reasonable requirements
yield specific forms for these instantaneous quantities
that can be computed with familiar complex seismic
trace attributes. Instantaneous center frequency is just
instantaneous frequency. Instantaneous bandwidth is

the absolute value of the derivative of the instantaneous amplitude divided by the instantaneous amplitude. Instantaneous dominant frequency is the square
root of the sum of the squares of the instantaneous
frequency and instantaneous bandwidth.
Instantaneous bandwidth and dominant frequency
find employment as additional complex seismic trace
attributes in the detailed study of seismic data. Instantaneous bandwidth is observed to be nearly always
less than instantaneous frequency; the points where it
is larger may mark the onset of distinct wavelets.
These attributes, together with instantaneous frequency, are perhaps of greater use in revealing the
time-varying spectral properties of seismic data. They
can help in the search for low frequency shadows or in
the analysis of frequency change due to effects of data
processing. Instantaneous bandwidth and dominant
frequency complement instantaneous frequency and
should find wide application in the analysis of seismic
reflection data.

INTRODUCTION
.
.
In reflection seismology, an entire frequency spectrum is
sometimes usefully characterized by several average parameters, notably the center (or mean) frequency, the spectral
bandwidth, and the dominant frequency (Anstey, 1977,
p. 3-4; Widess, 1982; Kallweit and Wood, 1982; Berkhout,
1984, p. 28). Competing definitions for all three quantities
exist; however, the center frequency is commonly defined as
the average frequency of the power spectrum, and the
spectral bandwidth as a standard deviation about the center
frequency (Berkhout, 1984, p. 28). These definitions are
intuitively reasonable and suggest corresponding instantaneous measures (Cohen and Lee, 1988, 1990; Cohen, 1989;
Jones and Boashash, 1990). Dominant frequency lacks a
comparable definition, but rather is defined in terms of the

density of amplitude maxima (Kallweit and Wood, 1982;


Widess, 1982; Yilmaz, 1987, p. 40; Sheriff, 1989, p. 212;
Sheriff, 1991, p. 88). It is often referred to without being
specified (e.g., Yilmaz, 1987, p. 160, 468; Sheriff and Geldart, 1989, p. 42; Lendzionowski et al., 1990; Tatham and
McCormack, 1991, p. 114).
The square root of the second moment of the power
spectrum can serve as a practical measure of dominant
frequency. It is an estimate of the zero-crossing frequency
and is closely related to center frequency and spectral
bandwidth. Equivalent instantaneous forms of these three
measures are defined in terms of instantaneous power spectra; these are constrained such that the instantaneous quantities are computable with familiar complex seismic trace
attributes. Instantaneous bandwidth and dominant fre-

Manuscript received by the Editor March 23, 1992; revised manuscript received September 3, 1992.
*Dpt de Gnie Minral, Ecole Polytechnique, CP 6079, Succursale A, Montreal, Qubec, CANADA H3C 3A7.
1993 Society of Exploration Geophysicists. All rights reserved.

420

Barnes

quency complement instantaneous frequency and find application in the analysis of the time-varying spectral properties
of seismic reflection data.
I review the concepts of the center frequency, spectral
bandwidth, and dominant frequency of a Fourier power
spectrum, and I present corresponding instantaneous measures expressed in terms of instantaneous power spectra.
These are reduced to simple formulas in terms of complex
trace attributes. Several examples illustrate applications of
instantaneous spectral bandwidth and dominant frequency
to reflection seismology.
MATHEMATICAL DEVELOPMENT
I review the definitions of center frequency, spectral
bandwidth, and dominant frequency of a Fourier power
spectrum to provide the basis for the introduction of corresponding instantaneous spectral measures. These quantities
are then reduced to easily computable complex trace attributes. The objective in presenting these attributes in this
manner is to emphasize their role as time-variant measures
of average spectral properties. This lends them intuitively
appealing meaning and suggests useful applications.
The development considers one-sided power spectra only
(e.g., Berkhout, 1984). This is justified because a seismic
trace is a purely real function. Therefore, the negative
frequency half of its spectrum is the mirror image of the
positive frequency half and can be ignored, obviating the
need to consider absolute values of frequency (e.g., McCarley, 1985). This is also justified if the seismic trace is made
analytic, for then the negative half of its power spectrum is
zero and can be discounted.
Average spectral measures
The mean or center frequency
is defined as

of a power spectrum

Another average spectral measure is the second moment


of the power spectrum,

(3)

(Mandel, 1974; Papoulis, 1984, p. 110). The quantity can


be called root-mean-square frequency. It is a kind of
average measure of the zero-crossing frequency, and is
introduced as a useful measure of the dominant spectral
frequency (Papoulis, 1984, p. 348; see Appendix A). Inspection of equations (l), (2), and (3) leads to

a result familiar from probability theory (Papoulis, 1984, p.


108; Cohen, 1989). Figure 1 illustrates these spectral measures with regard to the spectrum of a 30 Hz Ricker wavelet.
Other definitions have been offered for center frequency,
bandwidth, and dominant frequency. Anstey (1977, p. 3-4),
Robertson and Nogami (1984), and Barnes (1991) take the
average frequency weighted by the amplitude spectrum as a
measure of center frequency, which has some usefulness in
the analysis of constant-phase wavelets. Ha et al. (1991)
present the definition of instantaneous frequency in an
integral form to obtain the Fourier spectral centroid.
Widess (1982) and de Voogd and den Rooijen (1983) introduce alternate definitions of spectral bandwidth, and Claerbout (1976, p. 68) discusses a quantity similar to spectral
bandwidth. Dominant frequency also has several different
definitions, as discussed in Appendix A. Nevertheless, the
definitions given above are preferable because they are
simple, consistent, usefully related, and independent of
phase. Further, they lead directly to convenient instantaneous forms.

(1)

(Berkhout, 1984, p. 29; Cohen, 1989; Cohen and Lee, 1990;


Jones and Boashash, 1990). The variance of the frequency
is given by
about this mean

(Berkhout, 1984, p. 28; Cohen, 1989; Cohen and Lee, 1990;


is the standard
Jones and Boashash, 1990). The quantity
deviation about the center frequency and is taken as a
measure of the bandwidth [or, as Gram-Hansen (1991)
suggested, a measure of half bandwidth]. These two quantities find application in studies of seismic reflection resolution
(Berkhout, 1984).

FIG. 1. Power spectrum of a 30 Hz Ricker wavelet with a


comparison of the center frequency, the bandwidth, and the
root-mean-square frequency defined in the text. The frequency is the expected value of the frequency of relative
maxima, as disc ussed in Appendix A. The two dashed lines
are equidistant from the center frequency, and the distance
between them is twice the spectral bandwidth.

Instantaneous Bandwidth

Instantaneous spectral measures


Instantaneous measures of center frequency, spectral
bandwidth, and dominant frequency are defined by replacing
the Fourier power spectrum,
, in equations (l), (2), and
(3) with the instantaneous power spectrum,

(5)

(6)

421

Cohen, 1989). These two conditions are approximately satisfied by the spectogram, or running short time-window
Fourier transform (Cohen and Lee, 1988, 1990), which at
present is the most widely applied form of instantaneous
power spectrum in reflection seismology (e.g., Martin and
White, 1989).
As defined in equation (9), instantaneous bandwidth is a
measure of the rate of relative amplitude change (White,
1991), and consequently can be expressed meaningfully in
units either of Hertz or of decibels per second, with the
10 dB/s = 54.575 dB/s. This
conversion being 1 Hz =
is consistent with the concepts of rise-time and the uncertainty principle (e.g., Carlson, 1968, p. 103; Claerbout, 1976,
p. 68; Poularikas and Seely, 1985, p. 246; Cohen, 1989). For
example, large rates of change in relative amplitude, associated with narrow signals, result in large bandwidths, while
small rates of change in relative amplitude, associated with
broad signals, result in small bandwidths.
Other formulas for instantaneous bandwidth exist, but
they are generally more involved and less intuitive than that
given as equation (9). For example, inserting the Wigner
instantaneous power spectrum into equation (6) yields

(7)
(10)
where
is instantaneous center frequency,
is inI call instantastantaneous spectral bandwidth, and
neous dominant frequency (Cohen and Lee, 1988, 1990;
Cohen, 1989; Jones and Boashash, 1990). These measures
are related by
(8)
which is the instantaneous equivalent to equation (4) above
(Cohen, 1989).
Reinforcing intuition, instantaneous center frequency, and
dominant frequency are equal, in a suitably time-averaged
way, to their Fourier spectral counterparts. The corresponding relationship for bandwidth is, unfortunately, more involved and less intuitive. The relationships are developed in
Appendix B.
These measures depend on the particular instantaneous
power spectrum employed. However, the exact form of the
spectrum need not be specified if two conditions are met,
which I require to accord with intuition and for ease of
computation. The first is that the instantaneous center frequency be instantaneous frequency itself (Tanner et al.,
1979); ignoring several objections to this equivalence that are
unimportant in the present context, this is true of many
useful instantaneous power spectra (Cohen and Lee, 1988;
Cohen, 1989). The second condition is that the instantaneous
spectral bandwidth be always real and positive. This does
to be of a class of
not contradict the first and restricts
instantaneous power spectra for which the instantaneous
bandwidth can be expressed as

where
and

is the instantaneous amplitude (trace envelope)


is its derivative (Cohen and Lee, 1988, 1990;

(Claasen and Mecklenbraucker, 1980; Cohen, 1989; Jones


and Boashash, 1990). This measure is not as simple as
equation (9) and is difficult to interpret since it can be
negative. Cohen (1989) gives a general formula for the
instantaneous bandwidth for an important set of instantaneous power spectra, from which formula both equations (9)
and (10) can be derived. Rihaczek (1968) proposed a definition for instantaneous bandwidth that is essentially the
square root of the absolute value of the time derivative of the
instantaneous frequency. This is not consistent with the
definition given in equation (6) and it is more difficult to
interpret. In all cases I prefer equation (9) because it is
simpler and more in accord with intuition.
The relationship between the instantaneous center frequency, spectral bandwidth, and dominant frequency can be
visualized as a frequency triangle, shown in Figure 2. After
a fashion, this triangle can also illustrate the relationship of
these measures to the instantaneous quality factor,
which is defined as
(11)
(Barnes, 1990); a similar definition is given by Tonn (1989,
1991). The term
is the instantaneous decay rate,
defined as the derivative of the instantaneous amplitude
divided by the instantaneous amplitude (Barnes, 1990, 1991).
Except for a factor of
and the fact that it can be negative,
instantaneous decay rate is equal to instantaneous bandwidth given by equation (9). Hence, referring to Figure 2,
instantaneous quality factor is the ratio of instantaneous
frequency to 2 times instantaneous bandwidth, or to the
divided by 2. It can be thought of as
tangent of the angle
the ratio of a frequency and an amplitude decay or as the
ratio of a frequency and a bandwidth, which is consistent

Barnes

422

with standard definitions of the quality factor (e.g., Close,


1966, p. 296; Johnston and Toksz, 1981, p. 2).
APPLICATIONS
Instantaneous bandwidth and dominant frequency can be
used as complex seismic trace attributes complementing instantaneous frequency in the general analysis of seismic data
(e.g., Taner et al., 1979). The comparison of these measures is
illustrated by their application to a 30 Hz zero-phase Ricker
wavelet (Figure 3). The peak of the instantaneous dominant
frequency is much broader than that of the instantaneous

FIG. 2. The relationship between instantaneous frequency


.
instantaneous bandwidth
and instantaneous
dominant frequency
Instantaneous quality factor
is related to the angle
by

frequency itself. The instantaneous bandwidth is zero at the


time corresponding with the peak of the wavelet, where the
rate of amplitude change is zero. At times beyond 20 ms from
the wavelet peak, the Ricker wavelet resembles an overdamped oscillation, and the instantaneous bandwidth exceeds
the instantaneous frequency. Here it may be more appropriate
to consider the instantaneous bandwidth as a measure of
relative amplitude decay rate. It reaches a maximum of 26 Hz,
which is equivalent to about 1400 dB/s. The two maxima
roughly correspond to the effective beginning and ending of the
wavelet.
Figure 4 shows the application of these measures to a
seismic trace. Instantaneous bandwidth and the instantaneous frequency are distinctly independent, though they
tend to peak together. Instantaneous bandwidth is smaller
than instantaneous frequency almost everywhere. Where it
is larger, the instantaneous power spectrum is biased towards low frequencies, and the instantaneous frequency is
usually small. Perhaps, as in the example of the Ricker
wavelet given above, these places correspond to onsets of
distinct wavelets.
Instantaneous frequency has been employed to study wavelet interference patterns (Robertson and Nogami, 1984; Robertson and Fisher, 1988). Instantaneous bandwidth and instantaneous dominant frequency can be similarly employed, as
shown in Figure 5. A synthetic seismic trace is constructed by
convolving a zero-phase 30 Hz Ricker wavelet with three pairs
of equal and opposite reflection coefficients with spacing of 40,
30, and 20 ms. Thus there are three pairs of progressively
interfering wavelets, labeled a, b, and c; these are well resolvable, marginally resolvable, and poorly resolvable, respectively. The responses of the derived attributes differ markedly
for the three wavelet pairs. In wavelet pair b, instantaneous
bandwidth peaks while instantaneous frequency plunges
sharply negative at the point where the second wavelet begins
to dominate the first. This supports the idea that points where
instantaneous bandwidth exceeds instantaneous frequency
correspond to onsets of new arrivals. However, as the example

FIG. 3. Zero-phase 30 Hz Ricker wavelet and envelope (dashed line) with derived (a) instantaneous frequency, (b) instantaneous
bandwidth, and (c) instantaneous dominant frequency.

Instantaneous Bandwidth

of wavelet pair a shows, instantaneous bandwidth does not


generally exceed instantaneous frequency when the second
wavelet begins to dominate the first.
Instantaneous bandwidth and instantaneous dominant frequency complement instantaneous frequency in the analysis
of low-frequency shadows (e.g., Taner et al., 1979). Consider a gas sand with a quality factor of 25 buried in a
homogeneous earth with a quality factor of 250. The gas sand
has a thickness corresponding to a reflection record time of
25 ms, and it is at a depth corresponding to a time of 1.5 s.
The expected drop in instantaneous frequency from reflections beneath this gas sand is the low-frequency shadow,
and is matched by corresponding drops in instantaneous bandwidth and instantaneous dominant frequency (Figure 6; see
Appendix C for details of the calculation). Using both instan-

423

taneous frequency and instantaneous bandwidth to recognize a


shadow lends more confidence to an interpretation.
Instantaneous frequency is an excellent tool for the analysis of the effects of normal moveout stretch on seismic data
(Vermeer, 1990, p. 91; Barnes, 1992). Such analysis is aided
with instantaneous bandwidth and instantaneous dominant
frequency, as illustrated in Figure 7. Similar study of other
data-processing algorithms can lead to a better understanding of their effects on the data.
DISCUSSION
Fourier power spectra can be usefully characterized by
average measures. Of particular importance in reflection
seismology are center frequency, spectral bandwidth, and

FIG. 4. Seismic trace (a) with derived instantaneous frequency (b), instantaneous bandwidth (c), and instantaneous dominant
frequency (d).

424

Barnes

dominant frequency. These quantities have definitions familiar from probability theory: center frequency is the spectral
mean, spectral bandwidth is the standard deviation about
that mean, and dominant frequency is the square root of the
second moment. Dominant frequency serves as an estimate
of the zero-crossing frequency. Numerous competing definitions for these quantities can be found, but these definitions are preferred because they are simple, internally consistent, independent of phase considerations, and have
insightful physical analogs. Further, they suggest convenient
and closely related instantaneous counterparts defined with
instantaneous power spectra in place of Fourier power
spectra. These instantaneous measures represent averages
in frequency that are instantaneous in time. Their exact form

depends on the particular instantaneous power spectrum;


intuitively reasonable requirements yield specific forms that
can be computed with familiar complex seismic trace attributes. Instantaneous center frequency is simply instantaneous frequency. Instantaneous bandwidth is the absolute
value of the rate of change of the instantaneous amplitude
divided by the instantaneous amplitude. Instantaneous dominant frequency equals the square root of the sum of the
squares of the instantaneous frequency and instantaneous
bandwidth, which is always positive.
Instantaneous bandwidth and instantaneous frequency are
completely independent of one another, while instantaneous
dominant frequency is a function of both and can substitute
for either. Together these attributes find application in the

FIG. 5. A synthetic seismic trace (a) with derived instantaneous frequency (b), instantaneous bandwidth (c), and instantaneous
dominant frequency (d). The seismic trace is constructed by convolving a zero-phase 30 Hz Ricker wavelet with three pairs of
equal and opposite reflection coefficients labeled a, b, and c, with spacing 40, 30, and 20 ms, respectively. The dashed line is
instantaneous amplitude.

Instantaneous Bandwidth

detailed analysis of seismic reflection data. Instantaneous


bandwidth tends to be smaller than instantaneous frequency,
and the places where it is larger may indicate arrivals of new
wavelets. These instantaneous spectral measures are perhaps better suited for tracking the time-varying spectral
content of the data. For example, both instantaneous frequency and instantaneous bandwidth should record a low
frequency shadow beneath a highly attenuating zone, such
as a gas sand, and so the use of both attributes together can
lend more confidence to an interpretation. Similarly, both
can be used in the analysis of time-varying frequency change
due to effects of data processing, such as that caused by
normal moveout stretch. Instantaneous bandwidth and instantaneous dominant frequency complement instantaneous
frequency and should find routine application in the analysis
of seismic reflection data.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Erick Adam assisted with computer applications. Partial
support was provided by a Natural Sciences and Engineering

FIG. 6. Theoretical decay curves for instantaneous frequency


and instantaneous spectral bandwidth for seismic energy that
has propagated through a highly attenuating zone. The top of
the zone is at 1.5 s and the zone has a thickness of 25 ms. At
zero time, the seismic energy has a boxcar spectrum from 10 to
90 Hz.

FIG. 7. The effect of normal moveout correction stretch on the


average spectral properties of data that initially had a constant
instantaneous center frequency of 50.0 Hz and a constant
instantaneous bandwidth of 23.1 Hz. The offset is 1 km and the
correction velocity is a constant 2.5 km/s.

425

Research Council of Canada (NSERC) strategic grant


awarded to A. Brown, M. Chouteau, C. Hubert, J.Ludden,
and M. Mareschal. Comments made in review by L. Cohen
and A. J. Berni were very helpful; to the extent that I was
able to respond to their suggestions, the paper was improved.
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APPENDIX A
ZERO-CROSSING FREQUENCY AND DOMINANT FREQUENCY
Zero-crossing frequency is the number of zero crossings
that occur on a seismic trace divided by twice the length of
the trace (Gupta, 1975); it is a function of the amplitude
spectrum and the phase spectrum of the data. If the data
with zero mean and with
were a random normal process
then its expected zero-crossing frepower spectrum
quency is the root-mean-square frequency of equation (3),
which is independent of the phase (Papoulis, 1984, p. 348).
Stated differently, for a trace length At there will be on the
points whre
equals zero, with the factor
average
2 accounting for the two zero-crossings per period.
Root-mean-square frequency can thus be interpreted as an
expected zero-crossing frequency; this lends it an intuitive
and appealing meaning. It is also simple, independent of phase,
and closely related to the center frequency and spectral bandwidth. This close relationship facilitates computation and affords insightful comparisons with analogous equations in physics. For example, in dynamics the center of mass corresponds
to center frequency, the radius of gyration with respect to the
center of mass corresponds to the bandwidth, and the radius of
gyration with respect to the origin corresponds to the rootmean-square frequency (Papoulis, 1984, p. 110). A more relevant though imperfect example is in damped harmonic oscillation, where the frequency of oscillation is similar to the center
frequency, the natural (undamped) frequency is similar to the
root-mean-square frequency, and the decay coefficient is similar to the spectral bandwidth (Close, 1966, p. 201; Kreyszig,
1972, p. 65). These reasons justify root-mean-square frequency
as a measure of dominant frequency.
Dominant frequency, however, is usually estimated by
counting the number of relative maxima within some interval

(Kallweit and Wood, 1982; Widess, 1982; Yilmaz, 1987, p.


40; Sheriff, 1989, p. 212; Sheriff, 1991, p. 88); these estimates
depend on the phase of the data and tend to be higher than
the zero-crossing frequency. The formula for the expected
for the specvalue of the frequency of relative maxima
trum of a random normal process with zero mean and power
spectrum
is

(A-1)

(Papoulis, 1984, p. 350); this is to be compared with equation


(3). For the spectrum of a 30 Hz Ricker wavelet, the center
frequency is 31.9 Hz, the spectral bandwidth is 10.2 Hz, the
root-mean-square frequency is 33.5 Hz, and the average
frequency of relative maxima is 39.7 Hz (Figure 1). The
dominant frequency as defined by Kallweit and Wood
(1982) is 39.0 Hz, which is nearly the same as the average
frequency of relative maxima.
The measures of dominant frequency cited above do not
lend themselves readily to instantaneous equivalents. While
the measure defined by equation (A-l) does suggest an
instantaneous equivalent, it is more complex than rootmean-square frequency defined by equation (3), and it lacks
the convenient relationship with the center frequency and
the spectral bandwidth defined by equations (1) and (2). I
conclude that root-mean-square frequency is a more useful
measure of dominant frequency.

APPENDIX B
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE AVERAGE FOURIER SPECTRAL MEASURES
AND THEIR INSTANTANEOUS COUNTERPARTS
Useful relationships exist between the average Fourier
spectral properties introduced in the text and weighted
time-average values of their instantaneous counterparts.
Those for center frequency and dominant frequency are
particularly simple and intuitively appealing; that for bandwidth is unfortunately more involved and less intuitive.
These are developed below.

be an instantaneous power spectrum of a


Let
seismic trace with the following properties (Cohen, 1989):

(B-1)

427

Instantaneous Bandwidth

and

(B-2)

is equal to a result obtained many times before (e.g.,


Mandel, 1974; Saha, 1987). Denoting the weighted average
over time by brackets and recalling equation (1) permits
equation (B-6) to be expressed in a succinct and useful form:

(B-3)

(B-7)

where
is the magnitude of the trace and
is its
corresponds to
power spectrum. If the trace is analytic,
instantaneous amplitude. Equation (B-3) is Parsevals theorem.
The relationship between instantaneous center frequency,
, averaged over time, and the average Fourier spectral
follows readily from their definitions given in
frequency
the text and the above properties. From equation (5) and
equation (B-l) is derived
(B-4)
Hence
(B-5)
Performing the outside integration first and dividing each
side of equation (B-5) by one side of equation (B-3), and
recalling equation (1) gives

(B-6)

Thus, the weighted average over time of the instantaneous


is equal to the average Fourier speccenter frequency
tral frequency (Cohen, 1989). When
is equated with
with trace envelope, this
instantaneous frequency and

In a like manner, the relationship between the instantaand root-mean-square freneous dominant frequency
quency is found to be
dt
I0

0
(B-8)

I
(B-9)
Interestingly, and perhaps unfortunately for intuition, the
corresponding relationship between instantaneous bandand Fourier spectral bandwidth
is more
width
involved. It is readily derived by inserting equation (B-9) and
equation (8) into equation (4) to get
=

(B-10)

(B-l 1)

(Cohen and Lee, 1988; Cohen, 1989). Thus, the weighted


average value over time of the instantaneous bandwidth
squared is not equal to the Fourier spectral bandwidth
squared, and in fact is always less. This is true whether the
is defined by equation (9) in
instantaneous bandwidth
the text, or by equation (10), or by some other equation
consistent with the given definitions and the properties of
With
as instantaneous frequency and
defined by equation (9), equation (B-11) is identical to a
result derived by Mandel(1974) and Berkhout (1984, p. 29),
among others.

APPENDIX C
A SIMPLE MODEL OF INSTANTANEOUS FREQUENCY AND BANDWIDTH
CHANGE DUE TO Q LOSSES
A simple model is developed to compute the changes in the
instantaneous center frequency and spectral bandwidth of
seismic energy propagating through an attenuating earth. I
assume that in some average way the resultant equations also
apply to reflected energy. Such an assumption is implicit in the
use of instantaneous frequency to find low-frequency shadows
beneath bright spots (e.g., Taner et al., 1979). The limitations of
the assumption are beyond this discussion, but they do not
detract from the general argument that spectral changes due to
attenuation
losses can be observed with instantaneous
bandwidth as well as with instantaneous frequency.
The quality factor Q is commonly defined by
(C-1)

where
is the power spectrum at time t of the
propagating seismic energy (Johnston and Toksz, 1981, p.
2; McCarley, 1985). This can be expressed as

(C-2)
with
defined as the power spectrum of the wavelet
0 (McCarley, 1985). Let
be a factor
at time
representing the frequency-independent energy losses suffered by the wavelet as a result of wavefront spreading (e.g.,
Toksoz and Johnston, 1981, p. 9). Then the spectral power at
time t, accounting for Q losses and wavefront spreading, is
(Toksozand Johnston, 1981, p. 9). By
defining a quantity
as

428

Barnes

(C-3)

(C-6)

(e.g., Kjartansson, 1979; Toksz and Johnston, 1981, p. 9;


Spencer et al., 1982), where Q(t) is the quality factor as a
function of propagation time, this can be written as

At t = 0 this equation is undefined, but application of


LHpitals rule gives
The corresponding equations for instantaneous dominant frequency are

(C-7)

(C-4)
This is an expression for the power spectrum of seismic
energy propagating through the earth as a function of time, in
other words, an instantaneous power spectrum. Given this
expression, the initial power spectrum, and the quality factor
as a function of traveltime, the instantaneous center frequency and bandwidth of the propagating energy can be
calculated from the definitions given in the text. The resulting quantities prove to be independent of b(t).
Let the initial power spectrum Ea (0, f) be an ideal
band-pass spectrum from fe to fh defined by
(C-5)
The instantaneous power spectrum is now defined; performing the integrations required for instantaneous center frequency yields

and

(C-8)
1
The instantaneous bandwidth can be found from equations
(C-6) and (C-7) and equation (8) in the text.
Equations (C-6) and (C-7) govern the change in instantaneous center frequency and instantaneous dominant frequency for seismic energy propagating through the earth as
a function of total traveltime t. If, after accounting for the
doubling of traveltimes, and if in an average sense the power
spectrum of the reflected energy equals that of the transmitted energy, then these equations can also be employed to
estimate the corresponding instantaneous frequency and
instantaneous bandwidth of the reflected energy.