The simulation of wave propagations in coalbeds is challenged by two major issues: (1) strong anisotropy resulting from high-density cracks/fractures in coalbeds and (2) numerical dispersion resulting from high-frequency content (the dominant frequency can be higher than 100 Hz). We present a staggered-grid high-order finite-difference (FD) method with arbitrary even-order (2L) accuracy to overcome the two difficulties stated above. First, we derive the formulae based on the standard Taylor series expansion but given in a neat and explicit form. We also provide an alternative way to calculate the FD coefficients. The detailed implementations are shown and the stability condition for anisotropic FD modeling is examined by the eigenvalue analysis method. Then, we apply the staggered-grid FD method to 2D and 3D coalbed models with dry and water-saturated fractures to study the characteristics of the 2D/3C elastic wave propagation in anisotropic media. Several factors, like density and direction of vertical cracks, are investigated. Several phenomena, like S-wave splitting and waveguides, are observed and are consistent with those observed in a real data set. Numerical results show that our formulae can correlate the amplitude and traveltime anisotropies with the coal seam fractures.

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