Steven Roche, PhD

Steven Roche, PhD
Interim Department Chair, Geosciences
Associate Professor of Geophysics
College of Engineering & Natural Sciences
918-631-3307 Keplinger Hall Room L123


PhD – Colorado School of Mines BSc – University of California, Riverside

Research Interests

My experience is applied seismology within the oil and gas exploration industry, therefore research interests and teaching courses related to seismic methods for exploration geophysics is my primary interest. I teach both undergraduate and graduate level courses, ranging from geophysical field methods, data acquisition design, data processing, inversion methods and interpretation of seismic data, to multidisciplinary geoscience integration. I construct the undergraduate courses to be introductory and general, with the graduate level courses being more focused and rigorous. My courses include both theory and applied exercises using actual case history data sets. Additionally, we use the TU Geoscience Department geophysical equipment to engage in a “hands-on” geophysical methods class involving data acquisition, data reduction and interpretation. We have acquisition equipment for magnetics, gravity, electrical, seismic and ground penetrating radar applications.

My personal research interests are concentrated in seismic methods, particularly the use of the full elastic wavefield for the characterization of poroelastic systems. My doctoral research was on time-lapse, multicomponent methods for reservoir characterization. Dr. Thomas Davis (Colorado School of Mines) and I continue to teach an industry course on 4D case histories and methods titled “Dynamic Reservoir Characterization”. Specifically I envision the need for research into the applicability of time-lapse, multicomponent methods for reservoir characterization, CO2 sequestration, near-surface aquifer studies and unconventional shale plays. For example, completion and production practices typically include hydraulic stimulation along horizontal wellbores. These processes involve significant changes in reservoir pore pressure and greatly alter the rigidity of the rock framework over short time durations. I believe time-lapse, multicomponent seismic methods, using both P-wave and S-wave illumination will allow us to “see” the volume of rock being stimulated. Current engineering practices or the use of microseismic methods can only infer the stimulated volume.

Another area of my research is induced seismicity associated with oil & gas operations.
Oklahoma has experienced a significant increase in seismicity over the past ten years. Evidence
indicates that pore pressure and stress variations associated with extraction and fluid injection are likely causes. To date, most attention has been focused on produced water disposal (SWD wells) but anomalous seismicity is being associated with completion processes such as hydraulic stimulation (fracing) itself. This will be a growing area of concern for the oil & gas industry, State of Oklahoma, State of Texas and the general public. On this topic of induced seismicity, I see the need for research into the static and dynamic state of stress in the subsurface over time. Seismic methods utilizing the complete elastic wavefield are a good tool for analysis. I am also intrigued by recent advances in interferometry and the potential for passive seismic methods in imaging deep, regional, structural features.

In summary, my research interests are…

Seismic imaging using P-wave and S-wave modes (multicomponent)Time-lapse imaging using P- and S-wavesIntegration and analysis of the above with well control (logs)Integration of P- and S-wave data with completion and production processesStress state in the subsurface (spatial and temporal)Seismic data acquisition and processing (spatial and temporal sampling, DSP methods)Integrated reservoir studies (geology, petrophysics, reservoir engineers, geophysics)Integration of microseismic data with time-lapse multicomponent imagingSeismicity – integration of regional monitoring networks and microseismic projectsDeep sediment and basement imaging using interferometry methods

I welcome the opportunity to discuss my research and encourage interested students to contact me for opportunities for collaboration.

Teaching Interests

I greatly enjoy teaching geophysics. I find it fun and stimulating to work through the material with students as we interact and explore the topics together. My classes are a mixture of theory and application, with as much case history material and actual data to enable a “hands on” learning experience. Class size is typically small, five to fifteen students, which allows collaboration and good interaction. Depending on the class, we also go to the field and acquire data so that you can experience the entire process of project design, data acquisition, data reduction, interpretation and the most important steps, forming a conclusion and communicating your results.
One of my goals as a teacher and mentor is to prepare you for real life geophysical applications. I picture you, having graduated and started your career, are on a project team given a scientific and/or economic objective. You participate in a multidisciplinary team, able to recognize and contribute given your understanding of geophysics an it’s role in accomplishing the project objectives. Helping you ‘hit the ground running” is my goal for you in your geoscience career.

Courses Taught

  • Research and Thesis
  • Well Logging for Geologists & Geophysicists Lab
  • Well Logging for Geologists and Geophysicists
  • Senior Thesis
  • Research and Dissertation
  • Applied Geophysics
  • Geophysics Report

Professional Affiliations

  • Geophysical Society of Tulsa
  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists