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Elastic Properties of Sedimentary Rocks Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Melendez-Martinez, Jaime
Supervisor and department
Schmitt, Douglas (Physics)
Examining committee member and department
Wong, Ron (Civil Engineering)
Rosolowsky, Erik (Physics)
Sacchi, Mauricio (Physics)
Kravchinsky, Vadim (Physics)
Harris, Nick (Earth and Atmospheric Science)
Department of Physics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Sedimentary rocks are an important research topic since such rocks are associated to sources of ground water as well as oil, gas, and mineral reservoirs. In this work, elastic and physical properties of a variety of sedimentary samples that include glacial sediments, carbonates, shales, one evaporite, and one argillite from a variety of locations are investigated. Assuming vertical transverse isotropy, ultrasonic compressional- and shear-waves (at 1 MHz central frequency) were measured as a function of confining pressure on all samples with the exception of glacial samples which were tested assuming isotropy. Tensile strength tests (Brazilian test) were also carried out on selected glacial samples and, in addition, static-train measurements were conducted on shales and argillite samples. Lithological and textural features of samples were obtained through thin section techniques, scanning electron microscopy images and micro-tomography images. X-ray diffraction and X-Ray fluorescence provided the mineralogical oxides content information. Porosity, density, and pore structure were studied by using a mercury intrusion porosimeter and a helium pycnometer. The wide range of porosities of the studied samples (ranging from a minimum of 1% for shales to a maximum 45% for some glacial sediments) influence the measured velocities since high porosity sample shows an noticeable velocity increment as confining pressure increases as a consequence of closure of microcracks and pores, unlike low porosity samples where increment is quasi-lineal. Implementation of Gassmann´s relation to ultrasonic velocities obtained from glacial samples has negligible impact on them when assuming water saturated samples, which suggests that state of saturation it is no so important in defining such velocities and instead they are mainly frame-controlled. On the other hand, velocities measured on carbonate and evaporite samples show that samples are at best weak anisotropic, thus the intrinsic anisotropy of such rocks has a minor contribution on anisotropy observed at seismic scales. In contrast, shales and argillite samples are highly anisotropic, with the dynamic modulus obtained from velocities up to 3.31 times higher than static modulus obtained from static-strain measurements at pressures <3 MPa.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Meléndez, J. and Schmitt, D.R. 2013. Anisotropic elastic moduli of carbonates and evaporites from the Weyburn-Midale reservoir and seal rocks, Geophysical Prospecting, 61, 363-379.

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