ABSTRACT

The detection of fractures in an anisotropic medium is complicated by discrete modes that are guided or confined by fractures such as fracture interface waves. Fracture interface waves are generalized coupled Rayleigh waves whose existence and velocity in isotropic media depend on the stiffness of the fracture, frequency of the source, and shear-wave polarization. We derived the analytic solution for fracture interface waves in an orthorhombic medium and found that the existence and velocity of interface waves in anisotropic media are also affected by the orientation of a fracture relative to the layering. Laboratory measurements of fracture interface waves using ultrasonic transducers (central frequency 1 MHz) on garolite specimens confirmed that the presence of fracture interface waves can mask the textural shear-wave anisotropy of waves propagating parallel to the layering. At low stresses, a layered medium appears almost isotropic when a fracture is oriented perpendicular to the layering, and conversely, a layered medium exhibits stronger anisotropy than the matrix for a fracture oriented parallel to the layering. The matrix shear-wave anisotropy is recovered when sufficient stress is applied to close a fracture. The theory and experimental results demonstrated that the interpretation of the presence of fractures in anisotropic material can be unambiguously interpreted if measurements are made as a function of stress, which eliminates many fractured-generated discrete modes such as fracture interface waves.

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