We demonstrate a novel application of the virtual source method to create shear-wave sources at the location of buried geophones. These virtual downhole sources excite shear waves with a different radiation pattern than known sources. They can be useful in various shear-wave applications. Here we focus on the virtual shear check shot to generate accurate shear-velocity profiles in offshore environments using typical acquisition for marine walkaway vertical seismic profiling (VSP). The virtual source method is applied to walkaway VSP data to obtain new traces resembling seismograms acquired with downhole seismic sources at geophone locations, thus bypassing any overburden complexity. The virtual sources can be synthesized to radiate predominantly shear waves by collecting converted-wave energy scattered throughout the overburden. We illustrate the concept in a synthetic layered model and demonstrate the method by estimating accurate P- and S-wave velocity profiles below salt using a walkaway VSP from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

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