Seismic-wave attenuation is an important component of describing wave propagation. Certain regions, such as gas clouds inside the earth, exert highly localized attenuation. In fact, the anisotropic nature of the earth induces anisotropic attenuation because the quasi P-wave dispersion effect should be profound along the symmetry direction. We have developed a 2D acoustic eikonal equation governing the complex-valued traveltime of quasi P-waves in attenuating, transversely isotropic media with a vertical-symmetry axis (VTI). This equation is derived under the assumption that the complex-valued traveltime of quasi P-waves in attenuating VTI media are independent of the S-wave velocity parameter υS0 in Thomsen’s notation and the S-wave attenuation coefficient AS0 in Zhu and Tsvankin’s notation. We combine perturbation theory and Shanks transform to develop practical approximations to the acoustic attenuating eikonal equation, capable of admitting an analytical description of the attenuation in homogeneous media. For a horizontal-attenuating VTI layer, we also derive the nonhyperbolic approximations for the real and imaginary parts of the complex-valued reflection traveltime. These equations reveal that (1) the quasi SV-wave velocity and the corresponding quasi SV-wave attenuation coefficient given as part of Thomsen-type notation barely affect the ray velocity and ray attenuation of quasi P-waves in attenuating VTI media; (2) combining the perturbation method and Shanks transform provides an accurate analytic eikonal solution for homogeneous attenuating VTI media; (3) for a horizontal attenuating VTI layer with weak attenuation, the real part of the complex-valued reflection traveltime may still be described by the existing nonhyperbolic approximations developed for nonattenuating VTI media, and the imaginary part of the complex-valued reflection traveltime still has the shape of nonhyperbolic curves. In addition, we have evaluated the possible extension of the proposed eikonal equation to realistic attenuating media, an alternative perturbation solution to the proposed eikonal equation, and the feasibility of applying the proposed nonhyperbolic equation for the imaginary part of the complex-valued traveltime to invert for interval attenuation parameters.

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