News Releases

Mines receives gift of Gulf of Mexico seismic, geophysical data from TGS
Release Date Thursday, August 7, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Aug. 7, 2014) – The Department of Geology & Geological Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has received a gift of digital seismic and well log data from TGS, a global multi-client geoscience data provider.

The 2D and 3D seismic data and digital well log information covers over 3,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico and will be used to develop training exercises for students preparing to enter the petroleum industry. Students and faculty will analyze the data through a $49 million gift of Petrel software received from Schlumberger in 2012.

Analysis of the data and development of training exercises are expected to take six to nine months, although students can begin using the data immediately in their petroleum-related coursework.

“When we explore for oil, the most powerful method is evaluation and interpretation of seismic and geophysical well log data. This area in the Gulf of Mexico is geologically complex, and it will give our students excellent experience in processing and interpreting raw data,” said Foster Sawyer, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Geology & Geological Engineering, who will manage the use of the data and software.

“Students will be able to make interpretations regarding subsurface structures and to develop models regarding oil migration and accumulation in that portion of the Gulf. This is state-of-the-art data in an extremely interesting area, and the experience of working with these data will put our students in a different league when it comes to landing industry jobs,” Sawyer said. 

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology also has launched an Energy Resources Initiative, which includes a new minor in Petroleum Systems and expanded research in the fields of petroleum exploration and production.


 About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at