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Seismic attenuation and velocity dispersion in heterogeneous partially saturated porous rocks



Seismic attenuation and velocity dispersion in heterogeneous partially saturated porous rocks



Geophysical Journal International 188(3): 1088-1102



Using a numerical approach, we explore wave-induced fluid flow effects in partially saturated porous rocks in which the gas water saturation patterns are governed by mesoscopic heterogeneities associated with the dry frame properties. The link between the dry frame properties and the gas saturation is defined by the assumption of capillary pressure equilibrium, which in the presence of heterogeneity implies that neighbouring regions can exhibit different levels of saturation. To determine the equivalent attenuation and phase velocity of the synthetic rock samples considered in this study, we apply a numerical upscaling procedure, which permits to take into account mesoscopic heterogeneities associated with the dry frame properties as well as spatially continuous variations of the pore fluid properties. The multiscale nature of the fluid saturation is taken into account by locally computing the physical properties of an effective fluid, which are then used for the larger-scale simulations. We consider two sets of numerical experiments to analyse such effects in heterogeneous partially saturated porous media, where the saturation field is determined by variations in porosity and clay content, respectively. In both cases we also evaluate the seismic responses of corresponding binary, patchy-type saturation patterns. Our results indicate that significant attenuation and modest velocity dispersion effects take place in this kind of media for both binary patchy-type and spatially continuous gas saturation patterns and in particular in the presence of relatively small amounts of gas. The numerical experiments also show that the nature of the gas distribution patterns is a critical parameter controlling the seismic responses of these environments, since attenuation and velocity dispersion effects are much more significant and occur over a broader saturation range for binary patchy-type gas water distributions. This analysis therefore suggests that the physical mechanisms governing partial saturation should be accounted for when analysing seismic data in a poroelastic framework. In this context, heterogeneities associated with the dry frame properties, which do not play important roles in wave-induced fluid flow processes per se, should be taken into account since they may determine the kind of gas distribution pattern taking place in the porous rock.

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Accession: 036292523

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246x.2011.05291.x


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