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Practical VTI approximations; a systematic anatomy

, : Practical VTI approximations; a systematic anatomy. Journal of Applied Geophysics 54(3-4): 347-367

Transverse isotropy (TI) with a vertical symmetry axis (VTI) often provides an appropriate earth model for prestack imaging of steep-dip reflection seismic data. Exact P-wave and SV-wave phase velocities in VTI media are described by complicated equations requiring four independent parameters. Estimating appropriate multiparameter earth models can be difficult and time-consuming, so it is often useful to replace the exact VTI equations with simpler approximations requiring fewer parameters. The accuracy limits of different previously published VTI approximations are not always clear, nor is it always obvious how these different approximations relate to each other. Here I present a systematic framework for deriving a variety of useful VTI approximations. I develop first a sequence of well-defined approximations to the exact P-wave and SV-wave phase velocities. In doing so, I show how the useful but physically questionable heuristic of setting shear velocities identically to zero can be replaced with a more precise and quantifiable approximation. The key here to deriving accurate approximations is to replace the stiffness a (sub 13) with an appropriate factorization in terms of velocity parameters. Two different specific parameter choices lead to the P-wave approximations of Alkhalifah (Geophysics 63 (1998) 623) and Schoenberg and de Hoop (Geophysics 65 (2000) 919), but there are actually an infinite number of reasonable parametrizations possible. Further approximations then lead to a variety of other useful phase velocity expressions, including those of Thomsen (Geophysics 51 (1986) 1954), Dellinger et al. (Journal of Seismic Exploration 2 (1993) 23), Harlan (Stanford Exploration Project Report 89 (1995) 145), and Stopin (Stopin, A., 2001. Comparison of v(theta ) equations in TI medium. 9th International Workshop on Seismic Anisotropy). Each P-wave phase velocity approximation derived this way can be paired naturally with a corresponding SV-wave approximation. Each P-wave or SV-wave phase velocity approximation can then be converted into an equivalent dispersion relation in terms of horizontal and vertical slownesses. A simple heuristic substitution also allows each phase velocity approximation to be converted into an explicit group velocity approximation. From these, in turn, travel time or moveout approximations can also be derived. The group velocity and travel time approximations derived this way include ones previously used by Byun et al. (Geophysics 54 (1989) 1564), Dellinger et al. (Journal of Seismic Exploration 2 (1993) 23), Tsvankin and Thomsen (Geophysics 59 (1994) 1290), Harlan (89 (1995) 145), and Zhang and Uren (Zhang, F. and Uren, N., 2001. Approximate explicit ray velocity functions and travel times for P-waves in TI media. 71st Annual International Meeting, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Expanded Abstracts, 106-109).


DOI: 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2002.12.002

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