Amplitude variation with offset (AVO) inversion attempts to use the available surface seismic data to estimate the density, P-wave velocity, and S-wave velocity of the earth model. Under linear slip interface theory, synthetic seismograms for models with fractures prove that fractures are also reflection generators. Consequently, observed reflections are not necessarily due to lithologic variations only, but they could be due in part to the effect of fractures. To obtain approximate equations for AVO inversion for fractured media, denoted by AVO with fracture (AVOF), we derived new equations for PP-wave reflection and transmission coefficients that are based on nonwelded contact boundary conditions. In particular, along with the fracture compliances, azimuth has also been taken into account in the equations because the fractures can have any orientation. The new approximate AVOF equations for a horizontally fractured medium with impedance contrast are developed by simplifying the equations for the new PP-wave reflection and transmission coefficients. In the new approximate AVOF equations, the reflection coefficients are divided into a welded contact part (a conventional impedance contrast part) and a nonwelded contact part (a fracture part). This makes the equations flexible enough to separately invert for the rock properties of the fracture and the background medium in the case of a fractured medium with impedance contrast. The new approximate AVOF equations state that fractures could cause the seismic reflectivity to be frequency dependent, and that the fractures not only influence the wave amplitude but also change the wave phase. The linear least-squares and nonlinear conjugate gradient inversion algorithms are applied to estimate the elastic reflectivity using the new approximate AVOF equations. The inverted results for seismic data for a horizontally fractured medium with impedance contrast are evaluated to find a more accurate delineation of the subsurface rock properties.

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