Summary

Computing first-arrival traveltimes of quasi-P waves in the presence of anisotropy is important for high-end near- surface modeling, microseismic-source localization, and fractured-reservoir characterization, and requires solving an anisotropic eikonal equation. Anisotropy deviating from elliptical anisotropy introduces higher-order nonlinearity into the eikonal equation, which makes solving the eikonal equation a challenge. We address this challenge by iteratively solving a sequence of simpler tilted elliptically anisotropic eikonal equations. At each iteration, the source function is updated to capture the effects of the higher order nonlinear terms. We use Aitken extrapolation to speed up the convergence rate of the iterative algorithm. The result is an algorithm for first- arrival traveltime computations in tilted anisotropic media. We demonstrate our method on tilted transversely isotropic media and tilted orthorhombic media. Our numerical tests demonstrate that the proposed method can match the first arrivals obtained by wavefield extrapolation, even for strong anisotropy and complex structures. Therefore, for the cases where one- or two-point ray tracing fails, our method may be a potential substitute for computing traveltimes. Our approach can be ex- tended to anisotropic media with lower symmetries, such as monoclinic or even triclinic media.

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