ABSTRACT

The significance of shales for unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs, nuclear waste repositories, and geologic carbon storage has opened new research frontiers in geophysics. Among many of its unique physical properties, elastic anisotropy had long been investigated by experimental and computational approaches. Here, we calculated elastic properties of Cretaceous Muderong Shale from Australia with a self-consistent averaging method based on microstructural information. The volume fraction and crystallographic preferred orientation distributions of constituent minerals were based on synchrotron x-ray diffraction experiments. Aspect ratios of minerals and pores, determined from scanning electron microscopy, were introduced in the self-consistent averaging. Our analysis suggested that phyllosilicates (i.e., illite-mica, illite-smectite, kaolinite, and chlorite) were dominant with 70vol.%. The shape of clay platelets displayed an average aspect ratio of 0.05. These platelets were aligned parallel to the bedding plane with a high degree of preferred orientation. The estimated porosity at ambient pressure was 17vol.% and was divided into equiaxial pores and flat pores with an average aspect ratio of 0.01. Our model gave results that compared satisfactorily with values derived from ultrasonic velocity measurements, confirming the validity and reliability of our approximations and averaging approach.

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