For processing and inverting reflection data, it is convenient to represent geometrical spreading through the reflection traveltime measured at the earth's surface. Such expressions are particularly important for azimuthally anisotropic models in which variations of geometrical spreading with both offset and azimuth can significantly distort the results of wide-azimuth amplitude-variation-with-offset (AVO) analysis.

Here, we present an equation for relative geometrical spreading in laterally homogeneous, arbitrarily anisotropic media as a simple function of the spatial derivatives of reflection traveltimes. By employing the Tsvankin-Thomsen nonhyperbolic moveout equation, the spreading is represented through the moveout coefficients, which can be estimated from surface seismic data. This formulation is then applied to P-wave reflections in an orthorhombic layer to evaluate the distortions of the geometrical spreading caused by both polar and azimuthal anisotropy.

The relative geometrical spreading of P-waves in homogeneous orthorhombic media is controlled by five parameters that are also responsible for time processing. The weak-anisotropy approximation, verified by numerical tests, shows that azimuthal velocity variations contribute significantly to geometrical spreading, and the existing equations for transversely isotropic media with a vertical symmetry axis (VTI) cannot be applied even in the vertical symmetry planes. The shape of the azimuthally varying spreading factor is close to an ellipse for offsets smaller than the reflector depth but becomes more complicated for larger offset-to-depth ratios. The overall magnitude of the azimuthal variation of the geometrical spreading for the moderately anisotropic model used in the tests exceeds 25% for a wide range of offsets.

While the methodology developed here is helpful in modeling and analyzing anisotropic geometrical spreading, its main practical application is in correcting the wide-azimuth AVO signature for the influence of the anisotropic overburden.

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