The method of the invention is employed for determining the state of saturation in a subterranean formation using only seismic velocity measurements (e.g., shear and compressional wave velocity data). Seismic velocity data collected from a region of the formation of like solid material properties can provide relatively accurate partial saturation data derived from a well-defined triangle plotted in a (.rho./.mu., .lambda./.mu.)-plane. When the seismic velocity data are collected over a large region of a formation having both like and unlike materials, the method first distinguishes the like materials by initially plotting the seismic velocity data in a (.rho./.lambda., .mu./.lambda.)-plane to determine regions of the formation having like solid material properties and porosity.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.