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Traveltime computation for 3D anisotropic media by a finite-difference perturbation method


  • Paper presented at the 63rd EAGE Conference – Geophysical Division, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 2001.



The first-order perturbation theory is used for fast 3D computation of quasi-compressional (qP)-wave traveltimes in arbitrarily anisotropic media. For efficiency we implement the perturbation approach using a finite-difference (FD) eikonal solver. Traveltimes in the unperturbed reference medium are computed with an FD eikonal solver, while perturbed traveltimes are obtained by adding a traveltime correction to the traveltimes of the reference medium. The traveltime correction must be computed along the raypath in the reference medium. Since the raypath is not determined in FD eikonal solvers, we approximate rays by linear segments corresponding to the direction of the phase normal of plane wavefronts in each cell. An isotropic medium as a reference medium works well for weak anisotropy. Using a medium with ellipsoidal anisotropy as a background medium in the perturbation approach allows us to consider stronger anisotropy without losing computational speed. The traveltime computation in media with ellipsoidal anisotropy using an FD eikonal solver is fast and accurate. The relative error is below 0.5% for the models investigated in this study. Numerical examples show that the reference model with ellipsoidal anisotropy allows us to compute the traveltime for models with strong anisotropy with an improved accuracy compared with the isotropic reference medium.

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