Conventional elastic impedances are derived as scalars by means of the integration of reflectivity. In this sense, they are attributes of the seismic reflection but not the intrinsic physical property of the subsurface media. The derivation of these expressions shares the same assumptions as the reflectivity approximations, such as weak impedance contrast, small angle of incidence, or weak anisotropic media, and thus it limits the accuracy and interpretation capability. The exact P/SV impedance matrices relating the stress and strain represent the mechanical property of the subsurface media and yield reflection coefficients at an arbitrary angle of incidence. We have extended the impedance matrices to a transversely isotropic medium. The resulting elastic impedances (stress/velocity ratios) can be used to characterize those unconventional reservoir formations with strong seismic anisotropy, such as shale-gas and coal-bed methane. Our numerical analyses determined their variations with the phase angle and anisotropy parameters. The exact expressions of the P- and S-wave elastic impedances are used to model the seismic reflection coefficients, and thus they can be inverted simultaneously if all of the types of reflection waves are available. We then derive approximations of quasi-P-wave elastic impedances for seismic inversion of anisotropy parameters and further interpretation. Our applications on real logs and seismic data for a turbidite fan reservoir and a shale-gas reservoir determined the robust interpretation capability of derived elastic impedances in lithology characterizations.

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