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URTeC SC-08 | Seismic Anisotropy: Basic Theory and Applications in Exploration and Reservoir Characterization

Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG)

Saturday, 18 July Sunday, 19 July 2020, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.  |  Austin, Texas

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Who Should Attend

The course is designed for both graduate students majoring in applied geophysics and more experienced geophysicists working in research, technical service, or exploration. Attendees are expected to be familiar with the basics of seismic wave propagation and data processing.

The course should be useful for both graduate students and geophysicists working in exploration or reservoir monitoring. Mathematical details are kept to a minimum, but familiarity with the basics of elastic wave propagation and seismic data processing would be helpful.


  • Use appropriate parameterization for TI and orthorhombic models
  • Apply linearized approximations to gain insight into anisotropic signatures
  • Choose the most efficient method to model anisotropic wave propagation
  • Recognize anisotropy-induced distortions in velocity analysis and imaging
  • Evaluate the influence of anisotropy on kinematic and dynamic signatures
  • Separate anisotropy and lateral velocity variation in NMO for layer-cake media
  • Apply moveout and amplitude inversion to P-wave and multicomponent data
  • Combine seismic data with borehole information to estimate TI parameters
  • Predict the applicability of effective media theories for fracture models
  • Use seismic attributes to characterize naturally fractured reservoirs

Course Content

  • Section 1: Basic description of anisotropic wave propagation 
  • Section 2: Anisotropic ray tracing 
  • Section 3: Notation and seismic signatures for vertical transverse isotropy 
  • Section 4: Normal-moveout velocity for 2D anisotropic media 
  • Section 5: 3D description of NMO velocity and NMO ellipse 
  • Section 6: Nonhyperbolic reflection moveout 
  • Section 7: P-wave time-domain signatures in VTI media 
  • Section 8: Inversion of dip and nonhyperbolic moveout 
  • Section 9: Time and depth processing of P-wave data for TI media 
  • Section 10: Moveout of PS-waves and the PP+PS=SS method 
  • Section 11: Joint inversion of PP and PS data for TI media 
  • Section 12: Case studies of multicomponent (PP+PS) processing 
  • Section 13: Notation and signatures for orthorhombic and HTI media 
  • Section 14: Anisotropic inversion of VSP data 
  • Section 15: Velocity-model building for downhole microseismic 
  • Section 16: Reflection coefficients and anisotropic AVO analysis 
  • Section 17: Effective medium theories and fracture characterization

The most critical step in extending seismic processing to anisotropic media is to identify and obtain from the data the medium parameters responsible for measured reflection signatures. Therefore, the course emphasizes parameter estimation for transversely isotropic and orthorhombic subsurface models using both conventional narrow-azimuth data and wide-azimuth surveys. A description of P-wave time and depth processing for VTI (transversely isotropic with a vertical symmetry axis) media is followed by analysis of the joint inversion of P-waves and converted PS-modes which can yield the true vertical velocity needed for depth imaging. Field-data examples illustrate the improvements achieved by anisotropic migration algorithms and the possibilities of applying anisotropy parameters in lithology discrimination. The part devoted to anisotropic AVO analysis includes simple analytic approximations for reflection coefficients as well as for amplitude distortions (geometrical spreading) in the overburden. The course also introduces fracture-detection methods based on the azimuthal variation of reflection moveout and prestack amplitudes of P- and PS-waves.


30 People
1.5 Credits


  • Zoom and Absorb through SEG On Demand. Participants will need to create an SEG account (free at this will give you access to course materials, quiz and CEU certificate.
  • Access to downloadable PDF course notes and SEG On Demand


$150 (limit 3)


URTeC SC-08 | Seismic Anisotropy: Basic Theory and Applications in Exploration and Reservoir Characterization
Austin Convention Center
500 E Cesar Chavez St.
Austin, Texas 78701
United States


Vladimir Grechka
Vladimir Grechka Borehole Seismic
Ilya Tsvankin
Ilya Tsvankin Colorado School of Mines

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