Building accurate interval velocity models is critically important for seismic imaging and AVO (amplitude variation with offset) analysis. Here, we adapt the PP+PS=SS method to develop an exact technique for constructing the interval traveltime-offset function in a target zone beneath a horizontally layered overburden. All layers in the model can be anisotropic, with an essential assumption that the overburden has a horizontal symmetry plane (i.e., up-down symmetry).

Our layer-stripping algorithm is entirely data-driven and, in contrast to the generalized Dix equations, does not require knowledge of the velocity field anywhere in the medium. Important advantages of our approach compared to the Dix-style formalism also include the ability to handle mode-converted waves, long-offset data, and laterally heterogeneous target layers with multiple, curved reflectors. Numerical tests confirm the high accuracy of the algorithm in computing the interval traveltimes of both PP- and PS-waves in a dipping, transversely isotropic layer with a tilted symmetry axis (TTI medium) beneath an anisotropic overburden.

In combination with the inversion techniques developed for homogeneous TTI models, the proposed layer stripping of PP and PS data can be used to estimate the interval parameters of TTI formations in such important exploration areas as the Canadian Foothills. Potential applications of this methodology also include the dip-moveout inversion for the P-wave time-processing parameter η and stable computation of the interval long-spread (nonhyperbolic) moveout for purposes of anisotropic velocity analysis.

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