Abstract

For elastically noninteracting vertical-fracture sets at arbitrary orientation angles to each other, a detailed model is presented in which the resulting anisotropic fractured medium generally has orthorhombic symmetry overall. Some of the analysis methods and ideas of Schoenberg are emphasized, together with their connections to other similarly motivated and conceptually related methods by Sayers and Kachanov, among others. Examples show how parallel vertical-fracture sets having HTI (horizontal transversely isotropic) symmetry transform into orthotropic fractured media if some subsets of the vertical fractures are misaligned with the others, and then the fractured system can have VTI (vertical transversely isotropic) symmetry if all of the fractures are aligned randomly or half parallel and half perpendicular to a given vertical plane. An orthotropic example having vertical fractures in an otherwise VTI earth system (studied previously by Schoenberg and Helbig) is compared with the other examples treated and it is finally shown how fluids in the fractures affect the orthotropic poroelastic system response to seismic waves. The key result is that fracture-influence parameters are multiplied by a factor of (1B), where 0B<1 is Skempton's second coefficient for poroelastic media. Skempton's B coefficient is itself a measurable characteristic of fluid-saturated porous rocks, depending on porosity, solid moduli, and the pore-fluid bulk modulus. For heterogeneous porous media, connections between the present work and earlier related results of Brown and Korringa are also established.

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