ABSTRACT

Modeling dispersion and attenuation of elastic waves in fluid-saturated rocks due to squirt flow requires the knowledge of a number of geometrical parameters of the pore space, in particular, the characteristic aspect ratio of the pores. These parameters are usually inferred by fitting measurements on saturated rocks to model predictions. To eliminate such fitting and thus make the model more predictive, we propose to recover the geometrical parameters of the pore space from the pressure dependency of elastic moduli on dry samples. Our analysis showed that the pressure dependency of elastic properties of rocks (and their deviation from Gassmann’s prediction) at ultrasonic frequencies is controlled by the squirt flow between equant, stiff, and so-called intermediate pores (with aspect ratios between 1032×101). Such intermediate porosity is expected to close at confining pressures of between 200 and 2000 MPa, and thus cannot be directly obtained from ultrasonic experiments performed at pressures below 50 MPa. However, the presence of this intermediate porosity is inferred from the significant linear trend in the pressure dependency of elastic properties of the dry rock and the difference between the bulk modulus of the dry rock computed for spherical pores and the measured modulus at 50 MPa. Moreover, we can infer the magnitude of the intermediate porosity and its characteristic aspect ratio. Substituting these parameters into the squirt model, we have computed elastic moduli and velocities of the water-saturated rock and compared these predictions against laboratory measurements of these velocities. The agreement is good for a number of clean sandstones, but not unexpectedly worse for a broad range of shaley sandstones. Our predictions showed that dispersion and attenuation caused by the squirt flow between compliant and stiff pores may occur in the seismic frequency band. Confirmation of this prediction requires laboratory measurements of elastic properties at these frequencies.

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