An acoustic wave equation for anisotropic media

T. Alkhalifah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

651 Scopus citations


A wave equation, derived using the acoustic medium assumption for P-waves in transversely isotropic (TI) media with a vertical symmetry axis (VTI media), yields a good kinematic approximation to the familiar elastic wave equation for VTI media. The wavefield solutions obtained using this VTI acoustic wave equation are free of shear waves, which significantly reduces the computation time compared to the elastic wavefield solutions for exploding-reflector type applications. From this VTI acoustic wave equation, the eikonal and transport equations that describe the ray theoretical aspects of wave propagation in a TI medium are derived. These equations, based on the acoustic assumption (shear wave velocity = 0), are much simpler than their elastic counterparts, yet they yield an accurate description of travel-times and geometrical amplitudes. Numerical examples prove the usefulness of this acoustic equation in simulating the kinematic aspects of wave propagation in complex TI models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1250
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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