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Traveltimes of reflected waves (reflection moveout) in heterogeneous anisotropic media are usually modeled by multioffset and multiazimuth ray tracing (e.g., Gajewski and Pšenčĺk, 1987). Whereas anisotropic ray-tracing codes are sufficiently fast for forward modeling, their application in moveout inversion requires repeated generation of azimuthally-dependent traveltimes around many common-midpoint (CMP) locations, which makes the inversion procedure extremely time-consuming. Also, purely numerical solutions do not give insight into the influence of anisotropy on reflection traveltimes.

This chapter is devoted to analytic treatment of conventional-spread reflection moveout in anisotropic media. For models with moderate structural complexity and spreadlength-to-depth ratios close to unity, traveltimes in CMP geometry are welldescribed by normal-moveout (NMO) velocity defined in the zero-spread limit (Tsvankin and Thomsen, 1994; Tsvankin, 2005). Even in the presence of nonhyperbolic moveout, NMO velocity (Vnmo) is still responsible for the most stable, conventionaloffset portion of the moveout curve. The description of Vnmo given here provides an analytic basis for moveout inversion, helps evaluate the contribution of the anisotropy parameters to reflection traveltimes, and leads to a significant increase in the efficiency of traveltime modeling/inversion methods.

A theoretical framework for 3D anisotropic moveout analysis was proposed by Grechka and Tsvankin (1998a), who showed that NMO velocity of pure (i.e., nonconverted) modes varies with azimuth as an ellipse, even if the medium is arbitrarily anisotropic and heterogeneous. This conclusion breaks down only for subsurface models in which CMP traveltime does not increase with offset (i.e., the case of reverse moveout) or cannot be described by

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