Propagating wavefields from monopole, dipole, and quadrupole acoustic logging-while-drilling (LWD) tools in very slow formations have been studied using the discrete wavenumber integration method. These studies examine the responses of monopole and dipole systems at different source frequencies in a very slow surrounding formation, and the responses of a quadrupole system operating at a low source frequency in a slow formation with different S-wave velocities. Analyses are conducted of coherence-velocity/slowness relationships (semblance spectra) in the time domain and of the dispersion characteristics of these waveform signals from acoustic LWD array receivers. These analyses demonstrate that, if the acoustic LWD tool is centralized properly and is operating at low frequencies (below 3 kHz), a monopole system can measure P-wave velocity by means of a “leaky” P-wave for very slow formations. Also, for very slow formations a dipole system can measure the P-wave velocity via a leaky P-wave and can measure the S-wave velocity from a formation flexural wave. With a quadrupole system, however, the lower frequency limit (cutoff frequency) of the drill-collar interference wave would decrease to 5 kHz and might no longer be neglected if the surrounding formation becomes a very slow formation, with S-wave velocities at approximately 500 m/s.

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