Various methods can characterize microstructural properties of reservoir rocks with the ultimate goal of relating microstructure to seismic properties. Scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and optical microscopy have traditionally been used for such studies. They have identified lithology, pore space, interconnectivity of pores, grain size, and cementation as the most important factors controlling seismic wave velocity and attenuation. However, these techniques provide qualitative descriptions only. The acoustic techniques presented here, scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) and acoustic sounding (AS), can map and, more importantly, quantify microstructure as variations in acoustic impedance.

Ultrasonic stress waves are sensitive to local variations in...

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