Shale often has strong intrinsic anisotropy, which can be described by transverse isotropy with a vertical axis of symmetry. When vertical fractures are present, shale is likely to exhibit orthorhombic symmetry. We used anisotropic rock-physics models to describe the orthorhombic properties of fractured shale, and we determined that composition and fracture properties had an impact on the azimuthal amplitude variations. Interpretation of azimuthal reflectivity variations was often performed under simplified assumptions. Although the Rüger equation was derived for weak anisotropy and for transverse isotropy with a horizontal axis of symmetry, our results indicated that the orthorhombic response can be well described by the Rüger equation. However, ambiguities could be introduced into the interpretation of parameters. We suggested that careful rock-physics modeling was important for interpreting the anisotropic seismic response of fractured shale.

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