Fractures in elastic media add compliance to a rock in the direction normal to the fracture strike. Therefore, elastic wave velocities in a fractured rock will vary as a function of the energy propagation direction relative to the orientation of the aligned fracture set. Anisotropic Thomson–Haskell matrix Rayleigh-wave equations for a vertically transverse isotropic media can be used to model surface-wave dispersion along the principal axes of a vertically fractured and transversely isotropic medium. Furthermore, a workflow combining first-break analysis and azimuthal anisotropic Rayleigh-wave inversion can be used to estimate P-wave and S-wave velocities, Thomsen's ε, and Thomsen's δ along the principal axes of the orthorhombic symmetry. In this work, linear slip theory is used to map our inversion results to the equivalent vertically fractured and transversely isotropic medium coefficients. We carried out this inversion on a synthetic example and a field example. The synthetic data example results show that joint estimation of S-wave velocities with Thomsen's parameters ε and δ along normal and parallel to the vertical fracture set is reliable and, when mapped to the corresponding vertically fractured and transversely isotropic medium, provides insight into the fracture compliances. When the inversion was carried out on the field data, results indicated that the fractured rock is more compliant in the azimuth normal to the visible fracture set orientation and that the in situ normal fracture compliance to tangential fracture compliance ratio is less than half, which implies some cementation may have occurred along the fractures. Such an observation has significant implications when modelling the transport properties of the rock and its strength. Both synthetic and field examples show the potential of azimuthal anisotropic Rayleigh-wave inversion as the method can be further expanded to a more general case where the vertical fracture set orientation is not known a priori.
- Surface wave inversion