Void detection is challenging due to the complexity of near-surface materials and the limited resolution of geophysical methods. Although multichannel, high-frequency, surface-wave techniques can provide reliable shear (S)-wave velocities in different geological settings, they are not suitable for detecting voids directly based on anomalies of the S-wave velocity because of limitations on the resolution of S-wave velocity profiles inverted from surface-wave phase velocities. Xia et al. (2006a) derived a Rayleigh-wave diffraction traveltime equation due to a void in the homogeneous half space. Encouraging results of directly detecting a void from Rayleigh-wave diffractions were presented (Xia et al., 2006a). In this paper we used four two-dimensional square voids in the layered half space to demonstrate the feasibility of detecting a void with Rayleigh-wave diffractions. Rayleigh-wave diffractions were recognizable for all these models after removing direct surface waves by F-K filtering. We evaluate the feasibility of applying the Rayleigh-wave diffraction traveltime equation to a void in the layered earth model. The phase velocity of diffracted Rayleigh waves is predominately determined by surrounding materials of a void. The modeling results demonstrate that the Rayleigh-wave diffraction traveltime equation due to a void in the homogeneous half space can be applied to the case of a void in the layered half space. In practice, only two diffraction times are necessary to define the depth to the top of a void and the average velocity of diffracted Rayleigh waves. ?? 2005 Society of Exploration Geophysicists.