Direct shear wave polarization corrections at multiple offsets for anisotropy analysis in multiple layers
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Azimuthal anisotropy, assumed to be associated with vertical, aligned cracks, fractures, and subsurface stress regimes, causes vertically propagating shear waves to split into a fast component, with particle motion polarized parallel to fracture strike, and a slow component, with particle motion polarized perpendicular to fracture strike. Determining the polarization of each split shear wave and the time lag between them provides valuable insight regarding fracture azimuth and intensity. However, analysis of shear wave polarizations in seismic data is hampered by reflection-induced polarization distortion. Traditional polarization analysis methods are limited to zero offset and are not valid if implemented over the full range of offsets available in typical 3D seismic data sets. Recent proposals for normalizing amplitudes recorded at non-normal incidence to values recorded at normal incidence may provide an extension to correcting offset-dependent shear wave polarization distortion. Removing polarization distortion from shear wave reflections allows a larger range of offsets to be used when determining shear wave polarizations. Additional complexities arise, however, if fracture orientation changes with depth. Reflections from layers with different fracture orientations retain significant energy on off-diagonal components after initial rotations are applied. To properly analyze depth-variant azimuthal anisotropy, time lags associated with each interval of constant anisotropy are removed and additional iterative rotations applied to subsequent offset-normalized reflections. Synthetic data is used to evaluate the success of these methods, which depends largely on the accuracy of AVA approximations used in the correction. The polarization correction effectively removes SV polarity reversals but may be limited in corrections to SH polarizations at very far offsets. After the polarization correction is applied, energy calculations including incidence angles up to 20° more effectively compensates individual SV and SH reflection components, allowing for more faithful polarization information identification of the isotropy plane and the symmetry axis. The polarization correction also localizes diagonal component energy maxima and off-diagonal component energy minima closer to the true orientation of the principal axes when a range of incidence angles up to 20° is used.