Abstract

Granular effective medium (GEM) models rely on the physics of a random packing of spheres. Although the relative simplicity of these models contrasts with the complex texture of most grain-based sedimentary rocks, their analytical form makes them easier to apply than numerical models designed to simulate more complex rock structures. Also, unlike empirical models, they do not rely on data acquired under specific physical conditions and can therefore be used to extrapolate beyond available observations. In addition to these practical considerations, the appeal of GEM models lies in their parameterization, which is suited for a quantitative description of the rock texture. As a result, they have significantly helped promote the use of rock physics in the context of seismic exploration for hydrocarbon resources by providing geoscientists with tools to infer rock composition and microstructure from sonic velocities. Over the years, several classic GEM models have emerged to address modeling needs for different rock types such as unconsolidated, cemented, and clay-rich sandstones. We describe how these rock-physics models, pivotal links between geology and seismic data, can be combined into extended models through the introduction of a few additional parameters (matrix stiffness index, cement cohesion coefficient, contact-cement fraction, and laminated clays fraction), each associated with a compositional or textural property of the rock. A variety of real data sets are used to illustrate how these parameters expand the realm of seismic rock-physics diagnostics by increasing the versatility of the extended models and facilitating the simulation of plausible geologic variations away from the wells.

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