Pool is a seismic acquisition specialist for BP. And on a not-too-chilly March day, Pool acted as a North Slope tour guide, showing a group of reporters how 3-D seismic works.
We exited a bus and stepped on to a snow-covered gravel pad near the heart of Prudhoe Bay. On the flat horizon, there were pipelines, drill rigs and a big olive-green pump station facility. Here, we got an up-close view of one of the key pieces of equipment used with 3-D seismic: a vibe truck.
It’s about the size of a cement truck, weighing in at 93,000 pounds. Instead of tires, it’s on wide tracks designed to help protect the tundra. It rolled along at 3 miles per hour. And every 110 feet it stopped, and that’s when the action happened.
A big, flat metal platform slowly descended from the belly of the truck and made contact with the ground. Pistons above the platform began moving faster and faster. Eventually, standing right next to the truck, we could feel the ground vibrating below our feet – a tingling sensation coming from beneath our boots. “We’re sitting on six feet of gravel,” said Pool. “When we’re out on the actual tundra, you can feel it a little more.”