A new acoustic assumption for orthorhombic media
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In exploration seismology, the acquisition, processing and inversion of P-wave data is a routine. However, in orthorhombic anisotropic media, the governing equations that describe the P-wave propagation are coupled with two S waves that are considered as redundant noise. The main approach to free the P-wave signal from the S-wave noise is the acoustic assumption on the wave propagation. The conventional acoustic assumption for orthorhombic media zeros out the S-wave velocities along three orthogonal axes, but leaves significant S-wave artefacts in all other directions. The new acoustic assumption that we propose mitigates the S-wave artefacts by zeroing out their velocities along the three orthogonal symmetry planes of orthorhombic media. Similar to the conventional approach, our method reduces the number of required model parameters from nine to six. As numerical experiments on multiple orthorhombic models show, the accuracy of the new acoustic assumption also compares well to the conventional approach. On the other hand, while the conventional acoustic assumption simplifies the governing equations, the new acoustic assumption further complicates them—an issue that emphasizes the necessity of simple approximate equations. Accordingly, we also propose simpler rational approximate phase-velocity and eikonal equations for the new acoustic orthorhombic media. We show a simple ray tracing example and find out that the proposed approximate equations are still highly accurate.