Agood seismic velocity model is required for many routine seismic imaging techniques. Velocity model building from seismic data is often labor intensive and time consuming. The process becomes more complicated by taking nonhyperbolic traveltime estimations into account. An alternative to the conventional time-domain imaging algorithms is to use techniques based on the local event slopes, which contain sufficient information about the traveltime moveout for velocity estimation and characterization of the subsurface geologic structures. Given the local slopes, there is no need for a prior knowledge of a velocity model. That is why the term “velocity independent” is commonly used for such techniques. We improved upon and simplified the previous versions of velocity-independent nonhyperbolic approximations for horizontally layered vertical transverse isotropy (VTI) media by removing one order of differentiation with respect to offset from the imaging kinematic attributes. These kinematic attributes are derived in terms of the local event slopes and zero-offset two-way traveltime (TWTT). We proposed the use of predictive painting, which keeps all the attributes curvature independent, to estimate the zero-offset TWTT. The theoretical contents and performance of the proposed approach were evaluated on synthetic and field data examples. We also studied the accuracy of moveout attributes for shifted hyperbola, rational, three-parameter, and acceleration approximations on a synthetic example. Our results show that regardless of the approximation types, NMO velocity estimate has higher accuracy than the nonhyperbolicity attribute. Computational time and accuracy of the inversion of kinematic attributes in VTI media using our approach were compared with routine/conventional multiparameter semblance inversion and with the previous velocity-independent inversion techniques.

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