On the neutron absorption properties of basic and ultrabasic rocks: the significance of minor and trace elements
P. K. Harvey, T. S. Brewer, 2005. "On the neutron absorption properties of basic and ultrabasic rocks: the significance of minor and trace elements", Petrophysical Properties of Crystalline Rocks, P. K. Harvey, T. S. Brewer, P. A. Pezard, V. A. Petrov
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The neutron absorption macroscopic cross-section, Σ, is measured routinely by neutron porosity tools and, although rarely presented as a logging curve in its own right, is used indirectly for the estimation of (neutron) porosity. One of the reasons that this primary measurement is not often employed directly in petrophysical analysis is the difficulty of interpretation. In particular, little is known about the range of Σ values for common lithologies, or exactly what information the measurement is providing.
In this contribution we demonstrate that excellent estimates of Σ can be calculated, provided that the chemistry of a sample is known in sufficient detail. When applied to a range of geochemical reference materials, it becomes apparent that the minor and trace elements present may have a profound effect on the Σ value of a sample, and, in turn, on the interpretation of neutron porosity measurements. Using this approach we present Σ data for basaltic and ultrabasic rocks, and model the change in Σ with alteration.
Alteration is considered in these models as an increase in alteration minerals (which are mainly clays, but also carbonates and zeolites in basic rock alteration) and changes in the trace-element chemistry of the rocks. Of the trace elements, boron and some of the rare-earth elements are of particular importance. Modelling the variation in Σ with these mineralogical and compositional changes indicates that increases in boron are the most important of these factors in increasing Σ; this is enhanced by the alteration, particularly to clay phases, which generally accompanies an increase in boron.
These models suggest that a Σ log should be able to act as a proxy for alteration trends in basic and ultrabasic crystalline rocks, and a quantitative model for such alteration is described.
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Boreholes are commonly drilled into crystalline rocks to evaluate their suitability for various applications such as waste disposal (including nuclear waste), geothermal energy, hydrology, sequestration of greenhouse gases and for fault analysis. Crystalline rocks include igneous, metamorphic and even some sedimentary rocks. The quantification and understanding of individual rock masses requires extensive modelling and an analysis of various physical and chemical parameters. This volume covers the following aspects of the petrophysical properties of crystalline rocks: fracturing and deformation, oceanic basement studies, permeability and hydrology, and laboratorybased studies. With the growing demands for sustainable and environmentally effective development of the subsurface, the petrophysics of crystalline rocks is becoming an increasingly important field.