The influence of fluid mobility on seismic velocity dispersion is directly observed in laboratory measurements from seismic to ultrasonic frequencies. A forced-deformation system is used in conjunction with pulse transmission to obtain elastic properties at seismic strain amplitude (10−7) from 5 Hz to 800 kHz. Varying fluid types and saturations document the influence of pore-fluids. The ratio of rock permeability to fluid viscosity defines mobility, which largely controls pore-fluid motion and pore pressure in a porous medium. High fluid mobility permits pore-pressure equilibrium either between pores or between heterogeneous regions, resulting in a low-frequency domain where Gassmann's equations are valid. In contrast, low fluid mobility can produce strong dispersion, even within the seismic band. Here, the low-frequency assumption fails. Since most rocks in the general sedimentary section have very low permeability and fluid mobility (shales, siltstones, tight limestones, etc.), most rocks are not in the low-frequency domain, even at seismic frequencies. Only those rocks with high permeability (porous sands and carbonates) will remain in the low-frequency domain in the seismic or sonic band.

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