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324 The Leading Edge March 2011

SPECIAL SECTION: S ha l e s S ha l e s SPECIAL SECTION: S h a l e s
(ODVWLFDQLVRWURS\RIVKDOHV
A
ccompanying the resource potential of gas shales is a new
interest in understanding the physical and petrophysical
properties of shales. Shale by geochemical or stratigraphic
measures is arguably the most common lithology encountered
in sedimentary basins. Despite this, shales remain little
studied while engineers and explorationists focused on
conventional reservoirs. Geophysicists did this knowing
full well that often a refection coefcient from a reservoir
was controlled by the shale properties of the cap rock. We
compensated for this ignorance by arguing that shales are
deposited in deepwater environments in which lateral and
vertical changes are slow and therefore inconsequential.
We further compounded this ignorance by assuming that
the shales were isotropic. An example of the consequences
of this ignorance was clearly documented by Margesson
and Sondergeld (1999). Engineers share culpability for this
ignorance too, since most of the drilling problems occur in
shales and most of the lithologies drilled through to reach the
target reservoirs are shales; however, shales were rarely sampled
unless a problem was encountered. Shales are now universally
recognized as being anisotropic. Laboratory measurements
are key to defning symmetries and magnitudes of anisotropy
and indicate that “weak anisotropy” (defned here to be less
than 10% in V
P
and V
S
) is the exception and not the rule.
Measurement of elastic anisotropy typically requires
knowledge of the symmetry and orientation of principal axes.
Tomographic approaches with multiply redundant observa-
tions allow one to simultaneously deduce the anisotropic
symmetry and magnitude of the elastic constants (Dellinger,
unpublished work). Te practical challenges to measuring
even simple transverse isotropy are formidable. First, shales
are chemically and mechanically unstable and are often frac-
tured which makes suitably sized core recovery a challenge.
Only the stronger, more stable shales are recovered and mea-
sured. Tis is compounded by the fact that shale often arrives
desiccated after protracted periods in storage.
Te most common approach to shale characterization is to
assume a symmetry, extract oriented plugs, and measure the
phase velocities corresponding to specifc elastic constants.
For transverse isotropy (TI) symmetry this requires extrac-
tion of horizontal, vertical, and 45˚ core plugs with respect to
bedding, and measurements of compressional and polarized
shear velocities to provide the fve required elastic constants.
Te measurement confguration is shown schematically in
Figure 1.
Note that there are three measures of C
44
which provide
a test of the assumed symmetry. Te method outlined by
Wang (2002) is similar but signifcantly reduces the infuence
of sample heterogeneity. For a TI medium, Tomsen (1986)
parameterized the fve elastic constants as described below:

CARL H. SONDERGELD and CHANDRA S. RAI, University of Oklahoma







o and µ are the compressional and shear velocities perpen-
dicular to bedding. r and ¸ are the P-wave and S-wave an-
isotropies, the fractional diference between the fast and slow
velocities, and o is a parameter which controls the slowness
or velocity surface at polar angles to the principal direction.
Te three-plug method provides a redundancy in the mea-
surements of C
44
which provides a test of the validity of the
TI assumption. We tested the validity of the TI assumption
through direct measurements on Floyd Shale samples at vari-
ous azimuthal angles. Sometimes insufcient data have been
presented in legacy publications to check this assumption.
We report legacy data at face value.
An example: Anisotropy of the Floyd Shale
Te Floyd Shale is a potential but to date uneconomic gas-
shale prospect in Alabama. Exploratory cores taken by Brown
and Wagner provided an opportunity to measure anisotropy
of the Floyd Shale. A number of these measurements have
Figure 1. Tree-plug measurement schematic. P-wave phase velocities
provide C
11
, C
33
and C
13
while the polarized S-wave velocities provide
C
44
and C
66
. Note that the two orthogonal shear velocities measured
on the vertical plug and the shear velocity polarized perpendicularly
to bedding on the horizontal plug provide redundant measures of C
44

(Figure from Wang, 2002).
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March 2011 The Leading Edge 325
S ha l e s S ha l e s
measured phase velocities with Tomsen’s (solid lines) and
Berryman’s (dashed line) theories for phase velocity subject
to assumptions of weak and strong anisotropy (Figure 5).
We simply inserted the measured values for r and o in the
Tomsen expression and the values of C
ij
in the Berryman
expression to calculate the predicted phase velocities. Te two
Tomsen curves result from calculating o using the C
13
val-
ues obtained on the 45 and 60˚ plugs. Te values measured
parallel and perpendicular to bedding are also plotted. Te
Berryman formulation provides much better agreement with
the observations than Tomsen’s, but expectedly so, since it
does not assume weak anisotropy.
been presented by Sakar et al., (2008). We extracted one-
inch plugs at various azimuthal (Figure 2) and polar (Figure
4) angles from a 4-inch diameter whole core. Te plugs were
machined into right circular cylinders with ends ground fat
and polished. A series of plugs was also extracted in the con-
ventional manner, parallel, perpendicular and 45˚ to bed-
ding. Additional plugs were extracted at polar angles of 15˚
and 60˚ with respect to bedding and a series of horizontal
plugs taken at 45˚ azimuthal angles were extracted (Figure
2). Te azimuthal plugs were used to evaluate the TI sym-
metry. Te polar plugs provide phase velocities for the cal-
culation of C
13
from these orientations. Tese velocities are
used to evaluate the weak (Tomsen) and strong (Berryman,
2008) phase-velocity approximations. Both formulations
allow the calculation of phase velocities at any polar angle.
However, the Tomsen (Equation 16a) formulation requires
the “magnitude of anisotropies” be small, specifcally <10%.
Most shales, as we will demonstrate, violate this assumption.
Figure 3 shows the observed phase velocities for the com-
pressional and fast and slow shear waves in the horizontal
direction as a function of azimuth. Te phase-velocity mea-
surements on six extracted plugs conform to the expected
symmetry of a TI material. Te circles represent constant
phase velocities, not fts to the observations. Te deviations
are small, typically within the experimental uncertainty. Te
symmetry is consistent with our assumption of transverse
isotropy. Consistent with this symmetry is the argument that
phase velocity measurements made at arbitrary polar angles
can be used to measure C
13
. We attempted extraction of core
plugs at 15, 45, and 60˚ to the bedding normal. Te plug
orientations are shown in Figure 4. Only the plugs at 45
and 60˚ survived. Successful recovery of core plugs is a sys-
temic problem when working with shales. We compare the
Figure 2. Plan view of plugs extracted from the 4-inch (full-diameter)
Floyd Shale core. Note the plugs at azimuthal angles of 135˚ and 315˚
could not be extracted.
Figure 3. Compressional and shear phase velocities (km/s) in Floyd
Shale measured on core plugs extracted at the indicated azimuthal
angles. Lines are simple circles representing constant phase velocities
and not ft to the measurements. Deviations from the circles are in
most cases less than the measurement error.
Figure 4. Plug extraction at polar angles 15, 45 and 60˚ with respect
to the bedding normal.
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326 The Leading Edge March 2011
S ha l e s
Weak anisotropy
Stemming from the seminal work of Tomsen in 1986, the
community has been quick to embrace the concept of anisot-
ropy and its embodiment as weak anisotropy. Weak anisot-
ropy is understood to mean that the magnitudes of r and ¸
are less than 10%. Unfortunately, the reality is that anisot-
ropy in shale is not weak but strong, not only exceeding 10%
but approaching 50–60%. A summary of measurements of r
and ¸ are presented in Figure 6. Tere are over 150 measure-
ment compiled in this plot. Te diamonds represent mea-
surements made in our laboratory while the circles are values
taken from the literature. We fnd a functional relationship
between r and ¸ to be ¸ = ~0.054 + 1.41r while Wang found
¸ = ~0.01 + 0.96r . Tsuneyama and Mavko (2005) report the
following relationship for sands and shales based on log data:
¸ = ~0.028 + 1.2r. Te intercepts are consistently near zero,
where they should be, and the slopes appear to vary some-
what but are close to 1.
Te values of r and ¸ equal to 10% are defned by the
dashed vertical and horizontal lines. Te implication of these
data is that we cannot model phase velocities using the linear
approximation based weak anisotropy.
Causes of anisotropy
Tere are multiple causes of anisotropy in shales; these in-
clude alignment of clay platelets, organic matter, stresses, and
fractures. Work by Hornby (1998) suggested that compac-
tion resulted in increased clay particle alignment (modeled
as an isotropic component) which consequently increased
anisotropy. In support, he argued that density increases with
compaction and therefore should be correlated with anisot-
ropy in shales. Sayers (1994, 2008) considers the deformation
and shape of the pore space in shales as a control on anisotro-
py. Johnston and Christensen (1994, 1995) developed a rela-
tion between basal plane intensities of clays in well-indurated
shales determined through X-ray difraction and anisotropy
—the greater the strength of the basal plane intensities, the
greater the measured anisotropy. Work by Vernik and Nur
(1992) and Sondergeld et al. (2000) suggests that anisotropy
increased with organic matter content. Increasing organic
content would decrease density and hence produce an efect
opposite to compaction. Te existence of interparticle mi-
crocracks is unresolved since most observations are made on
desiccated and poorly preserved core samples. Recent SEM
work on ion-milled samples is revealing the microstructural
details of shales and showing that shale systems are much
more complicated than our simple intuitive conceptual mod-
ρ V
P
V
S
r ¸ o
gm/cc km/s km/s
Shale 2.42 3.06 1.49 0.256 0.481 −0.051
Sand 2 2.95 1.48 0 0 0
Table 1. Measured properties for sand and shale used in generating
Figure 7.
Figure 5. Comparison of predicted and measured phase velocities in
Floyd Shale. Te solid line and short dashed lines use the Tomsen
phase-velocity formula for weak anisotropy while the long dashed line
uses Berryman’s expression for strong anisotropy. Te better agreement
is clearly with the Berryman formulation.
Figure 6. A compilation of measures of r and ¸ on shales. Tese
data are taken from available literature values (circles) as well as
measurements made recently on gas shales (diamonds). Te red
dashed lines defne the boundary of values of 10%. Over 95% of
the measured values exceed this value, convincingly demonstrating
that weak anisotropy is the exception and not the rule. A 1:1 line is
also plotted for reference as well as a least-squares ft. Te references
indicated with an * provided values used in this plot.
Figure 7. Te calculated Backus response for mixtures of sand and
shale layers having the properties given in Table 1. A concentration of
0 represents 100% sand while a value of 1 represents 100% shale.
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328 The Leading Edge March 2011
S ha l e s
els. Clay platelets are highly organized on a local level and
are a complex of crystals and rather lenticular pores (Son-
dergeld et al., 2010). Previous imaging capabilities produced
images from fractured surfaces which show grain pull-outs
and not true interparticle pores (Sayers, 2008). Tese obser-
vations spurred conceptual models which do not capture the
complexity of shale structures. Using Sayers’ theory, we fnd
that values of the ratio of BN/BT from 0.2 to 0.8 cover the
breadth of data plotted in Figure 6 and that a value of 0.4 fts
the data best. A value of about 0.35 produces a 1:1 relation-
ship between r and ¸. Further observations reveal the organic
matter to have porosities in excess of 50%. Te existence of
porosity in organic matter changes the generic 2:1 conversion
of weight percent TOC to volume percent. Lower organic
matter densities suggest organic volumes are greater than
previously thought. Te fundamental properties of clays and
organics remain poorly defned and estimated values span
considerable ranges (Prasad, 2002), hampering theoretical
modeling of shale systems.
Anisotropy is a generic characteristic of almost all crystal
symmetry classes. Te organization of these minerals at some
scale partially controls the apparent anisotropy of shales.
In addition, simple composites of isotropic materials with
welded boundaries result in overall anisotropic elastic behav-
ior. Composites of anisotropic and isotropic materials with
welded boundaries result in a system which can possess even
stronger elastic anisotropy. Te magnitude of anisotropy is
dependent in a predictable way on the volumetric concentra-
tion of the constituents. Tis has implications for determin-
ing the net to gross in a sand-shale sequence. Assuming the
properties for sand and shale presented in Table 1, we can
use a simple Backus average (Backus, 1962) to estimate what
various concentrations of these components would do to the
overall anisotropy.
Shale anisotropy has multiple causes which complicate
the interpretation of anisotropy measurements made on
shales. Scale therefore is an inherent issue with anisotropy
measurements. We would therefore anticipate a variation in
observed anisotropy with the scale of observation, that is,
anisotropy measurements on small core plugs may not sense
what a logging tool does at the meter scale or what a seismic
wavelength senses at tens to hundreds of meters. However,
consistency among measurement scales would suggest aniso-
tropic homogeneity.
Above (Figure 8) is a picture of a small (1.8 × 0.744 ×
1.129 mm) shale sample used for ultrasound resonance mea-
surements of anisotropic elastic properties (Leisure, 2008,
personal communication). Te results are compared in Table
2 to core measurements made on three 1-inch diameter by
1-inch long core plugs and measurements determined from a
dipole sonic log run over the same depth interval from where
the cores and resonance sample were recovered.
Te values presented in Table 2 suggest the anisotropy
observed in this section of the shale is homogeneous over the
range of scales sampled (i.e., from mm to tens of centime-
ters). Such comparisons are rare, statistically insignifcant but
certainly enticing and suggestive.
Pressure and efective pressure dependencies
Many conventional reservoirs are overpressured and sealed
c33 c44 c11 c66 c13 c12
Lab 30.4 12.5 49.9 20.2 11.8 9.6
Dipole 36 15 55 20.5 10 14
Rus-2 27.1 15.1 53.8 17.1 12.7 12.7
Table 2. Comparison of elastic constants made on shale samples and
derived from a dipole log. Elastic constants are given in GPa.Note that
the dipole was run in a deviated portion of the wellbore (Plona, 200,
personal communication).
Figure 8. A resonant ultrasound sample of Barnett Shale used to measure the anisotropic elastic constants.
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March 2011 The Leading Edge 329
S ha l e s
Figure 10. Computed values of P-wave, r, and S-wave, ¸,
anisotropies in Woodford (W) and Haynesville (H) gas shales as
a function of confning pressure, P
conf
. Te pressure dependence
of Woodford Shale anisotropy difers markedly from that of the
Haynesville Shale. We attribute this to the microstructural diference
(Sondergeld et al., 2010).
Figure 11. Measured compressional-wave speeds in vertical,
horizontal, and 45˚ gas shale plugs saturated and pressurized with
nitrogen. Tese are plots of P-wave velocities at constant diferential
pressure (P
d
= 500 psi). Te horizontal slopes suggest µ = 1 for the
horizontal and 45˚ plugs. Te slope in the vertical plug is caused
by the longer pore-pressure equilibration times due to the lower
permeability perpendicular to bedding.
Figure 9. Compressional velocities measured on horizontal, 45˚, and
vertical plug samples from Woodford (W) and Haynesville (H) gas
shales as a function of confning pressure, P
conf
. Te Woodford Shale
displays much less pressure-dependence than the Haynesville Shale.
by shales. A few gas-shale reservoirs are highly overpressured.
Tus the efect of pressure and overpressure on shale behav-
ior becomes of interest. If the reservoir is overpressured, the
pore pressure is in excess of an equivalent hydrostat to that
depth, implying there is an impermeable barrier bearing the
gradient of this transition from normal to overpressure. In
other lithologies, this topic has been studied extensively;
Zimmerman (1991) gives an excellent treatment of the topic.
Te mechanical behavior of the overpressured system obeys
the efective pressure law:

where P
ef
is the efective pressure, P
conf
is the confning pres-
sure, P
pore
is the pore pressure and µ is the Biot coefcient. µ
is an empirical constant which has static and dynamic defni-
tions and has been measured, depending on the property, to
be both greater and less than 1. While the exact value of µ
can be critical, for our discussion, the fundamental question
is: Do velocities in shale obey the efective pressure law? If so,
velocity perturbations induced by excess pore pressure can be
used to detect and estimate pore pressures in shales. Hornby
(1998) demonstrated that two shales appear to obey the ef-
fective pressure law through direct measurements on brine-
saturated North Sea shales. Hornby (1994) found that pore-
pressure equilibration times are very long in these laboratory
experiments. We have carried out similar measurements on a
suite of gas shale samples from the Woodford and Haynesville
shales. Te measured compressional velocities are presented
in Figure 9 and the computed P-wave and S-wave anisotro-
pies are plotted in Figure 10 as a function of confning pres-
sure. In accord with the observations by Rai and Hanson
(1998), fresh and well-preserved shales show little pressure
dependence; we observe this velocity behavior in the Wood-
ford shale (Figure 9). However, the pressure dependence of
velocity in the Haynesville shale is strong; this is normally
interpreted as a manifestation of desiccation cracks parallel to
bedding. However, detailed scanning electron microscopy of
ion-milled samples reveals the microstructure of the Haynes-
ville is dominated by intrinsic slot-like micropores which
impart this pressure dependence (Sondergeld et al., 2010).
Predictably, this pressure dependency is also observed in the
pressure dependence of the anisotropic parameters r and ¸.
Te consequence of these observations is that the Haynes-
ville is more likely to display a strong pressure signature upon
depletion than the Woodford, making seismic a potential
management tool to monitor compartmentalization or by-
passed gas.
Figure 11 shows measurements of P-wave velocities on
horizontal, vertical and 45˚ core plugs as a function of confn-
ing pressure with constant diferential pressure. Diferential
pressure was maintained at 500 psi. Nitrogen is the pressuriz-
ing fuid. Increasing and decreasing pressure tests are shown.
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330 The Leading Edge March 2011
S ha l e s
Clearly, the compressional velocities in the horizontal and
45˚ plugs show a simple diferential pressure-dependence.
Te vertical plug appears to obey a similar behavior but the
response is not exactly as fat as that for the other plugs. Te
simple explanation is that, with the horizontal and 45˚ plugs,
the fuid has access parallel to the bedding planes while the
access is across the bedding planes for the vertical plug. Te
pore pressure equilibration time for the vertical plug without
the screening employed by Hornby (1994) is much longer.
Given these limitations, these measurements suggest that the
compressional velocities in shale obey the efective pressure
law. Tus overpressured shales should display diagnostic ve-
locity changes. Equivalently, these signatures can be used to
map untapped, isolated or compartmentalized zones.
Summary and conclusions
Limited core measurements on shales suggest a good start-
ing anisotropic model for the lithology is TI symmetry and
that the magnitude of the anisotropy is large (20–50%);
thus, weak anisotropic assumptions should not be used in
modeling shales. Berryman’s formulation should be used to
model phase velocities when anisotropy is strong. Tere ex-
ists a strong correlation between r and ¸ and this correlation
can be interpreted in terms of the ratio of normal and shear
compliances between clay platelets (Sayers, 1994, 2008) but
no correlation between either r or ¸ and o. Tat is to say,
if you know either r or ¸, you can predict the other with
confdence. Intrinsic anisotropy and pressure-dependence of
velocities in shales are often masked by inadequate preser-
vation after post recovery. However, SEM studies indicate
that microstructural diferences in shales are responsible for
pressure dependencies of velocities and anisotropies. Pore-
pressure studies suggest shales obey the efective pressure
law when proper pore-pressure equilibration times are em-
ployed. On geological time scales, we expect this behavior to
be observed. Progress in refning our understanding of shales
and shale anisotropy requires more and better controlled
measurements as well as access to fresh and preserved cores.
Heretofore, most authors report measurements, but not mea-
surement conditions (i.e., core saturation or equilibration
time between measurements).
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Acknowledgments: Tis work was supported by Brown and Wagner
and Devon Energy and the members of the IC
3
Experimental Rock
Physics Consortium. Te laboratory support of Gary Stowe was
critical in making these measurements. We thank Colin Sayers for
his critical comments and shared insight. Measurements made by J.
Simmons, Gary Stowe, and Mriganko Sakar were incorporated in
this study; we thank them for their contributions.
Corresponding author: csondergeld@ou.edu
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since it does not assume weak anisotropy. parallel. The polar plugs provide phase velocities for the calculation of C13 from these orientations. The plugs were machined into right circular cylinders with ends ground flat and polished. Additional plugs were extracted at polar angles of 15˚ and 60˚ with respect to bedding and a series of horizontal plugs taken at 45˚ azimuthal angles were extracted (Figure 2). but expectedly so. Plan view of plugs extracted from the 4-inch (full-diameter) Floyd Shale core. Compressional and shear phase velocities (km/s) in Floyd Shale measured on core plugs extracted at the indicated azimuthal angles.Shales Figure 2.105.15. We compare the Figure 4. violate this assumption.org/ . A series of plugs was also extracted in the conventional manner.109.. We attempted extraction of core plugs at 15. The Berryman formulation provides much better agreement with the observations than Thomsen’s. The plug orientations are shown in Figure 4. Deviations from the circles are in most cases less than the measurement error. the Thomsen (Equation 16a) formulation requires the “magnitude of anisotropies” be small. measured phase velocities with Thomsen’s (solid lines) and Berryman’s (dashed line) theories for phase velocity subject to assumptions of weak and strong anisotropy (Figure 5). Plug extraction at polar angles 15. perpendicular and 45˚ to bedding. March 2011 The Leading Edge 325 Downloaded 06 May 2012 to 129. We simply inserted the measured values for and in the Thomsen expression and the values of Cij in the Berryman expression to calculate the predicted phase velocities. Only the plugs at 45 and 60˚ survived. 2008) phase-velocity approximations. (2008). The circles represent constant phase velocities. The values measured parallel and perpendicular to bedding are also plotted. Figure 3. The symmetry is consistent with our assumption of transverse isotropy. typically within the experimental uncertainty. specifically <10%. We extracted oneinch plugs at various azimuthal (Figure 2) and polar (Figure 4) angles from a 4-inch diameter whole core. Lines are simple circles representing constant phase velocities and not fit to the measurements. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Note the plugs at azimuthal angles of 135˚ and 315˚ could not be extracted. Figure 3 shows the observed phase velocities for the compressional and fast and slow shear waves in the horizontal direction as a function of azimuth. as we will demonstrate. Both formulations allow the calculation of phase velocities at any polar angle. see Terms of Use at http://segdl. been presented by Sakar et al. Successful recovery of core plugs is a systemic problem when working with shales. and 60˚ to the bedding normal. The two Thomsen curves result from calculating using the C13 values obtained on the 45 and 60˚ plugs. 45. not fits to the observations. Most shales. The azimuthal plugs were used to evaluate the TI symmetry. The phase-velocity measurements on six extracted plugs conform to the expected symmetry of a TI material. These velocities are used to evaluate the weak (Thomsen) and strong (Berryman. 45 and 60˚ with respect to the bedding normal. The deviations are small. However. Consistent with this symmetry is the argument that phase velocity measurements made at arbitrary polar angles can be used to measure C13.

051 0 Table 1. (2000) suggests that anisotropy increased with organic matter content. The existence of interparticle microcracks is unresolved since most observations are made on desiccated and poorly preserved core samples.06 2.95 VS km/s 1. the reality is that anisotropy in shale is not weak but strong. These data are taken from available literature values (circles) as well as measurements made recently on gas shales (diamonds). not only exceeding 10% but approaching 50–60%.48 0. he argued that density increases with compaction and therefore should be correlated with anisotropy in shales. and fractures. Causes of anisotropy There are multiple causes of anisotropy in shales. ρ gm/cc Shale Sand 2.15.Shales Figure 5. A 1:1 line is also plotted for reference as well as a least-squares fit. Measured properties for sand and shale used in generating Figure 7. these include alignment of clay platelets. Work by Vernik and Nur (1992) and Sondergeld et al. Weak anisotropy is understood to mean that the magnitudes of and are less than 10%. 1995) developed a relation between basal plane intensities of clays in well-indurated shales determined through X-ray diffraction and anisotropy —the greater the strength of the basal plane intensities. and the slopes appear to vary somewhat but are close to 1. The calculated Backus response for mixtures of sand and shale layers having the properties given in Table 1. 2008) considers the deformation and shape of the pore space in shales as a control on anisotropy. We find a functional relationship between and to be while Wang found .481 0 −0. Weak anisotropy Stemming from the seminal work of Thomsen in 1986. Tsuneyama and Mavko (2005) report the following relationship for sands and shales based on log data: . There are over 150 measurement compiled in this plot. Johnston and Christensen (1994. Figure 6. stresses. greater the measured anisotropy. see Terms of Use at http://segdl.256 0 0. A summary of measurements of and are presented in Figure 6. A concentration of 0 represents 100% sand while a value of 1 represents 100% shale. the community has been quick to embrace the concept of anisotropy and its embodiment as weak anisotropy. where they should be. Over 95% of the measured values exceed this value.109. In support. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. Increasing organic content would decrease density and hence produce an effect opposite to compaction.org/ . organic matter. Comparison of predicted and measured phase velocities in Floyd Shale.105. A compilation of measures of and on shales. The intercepts are consistently near zero.42 2 VP km/s 3.49 1. The references indicated with an * provided values used in this plot. Recent SEM work on ion-milled samples is revealing the microstructural details of shales and showing that shale systems are much more complicated than our simple intuitive conceptual mod- Downloaded 06 May 2012 to 129. The implication of these data is that we cannot model phase velocities using the linear approximation based weak anisotropy. The red dashed lines define the boundary of values of 10%. Unfortunately. convincingly demonstrating that weak anisotropy is the exception and not the rule. Work by Hornby (1998) suggested that compaction resulted in increased clay particle alignment (modeled as an isotropic component) which consequently increased anisotropy. The diamonds represent measurements made in our laboratory while the circles are values taken from the literature. The better agreement is clearly with the Berryman formulation. the 326 The Leading Edge March 2011 Figure 7. Sayers (1994. The solid line and short dashed lines use the Thomsen phase-velocity formula for weak anisotropy while the long dashed line uses Berryman’s expression for strong anisotropy. The values of and equal to 10% are defined by the dashed vertical and horizontal lines.

1 c13 11. These observations spurred conceptual models which do not capture the complexity of shale structures..15.8 10 12. Using Sayers’ theory. Pressure and effective pressure dependencies Many conventional reservoirs are overpressured and sealed c33 Lab Dipole Rus-2 30. see Terms of Use at http://segdl. Scale therefore is an inherent issue with anisotropy measurements.6 14 12. 2008. 2008). that is. The organization of these minerals at some scale partially controls the apparent anisotropy of shales.1 c11 49. els.35 produces a 1:1 relationship between and .Shales Figure 8. The results are compared in Table 2 to core measurements made on three 1-inch diameter by 1-inch long core plugs and measurements determined from a dipole sonic log run over the same depth interval from where the cores and resonance sample were recovered.8 c66 20. personal communication). We would therefore anticipate a variation in observed anisotropy with the scale of observation. 2002). Anisotropy is a generic characteristic of almost all crystal symmetry classes. simple composites of isotropic materials with welded boundaries result in overall anisotropic elastic behavior.4 fits the data best.4 36 27. Clay platelets are highly organized on a local level and are a complex of crystals and rather lenticular pores (Sondergeld et al. personal communication). Such comparisons are rare. we find that values of the ratio of BN/BT from 0.8 cover the breadth of data plotted in Figure 6 and that a value of 0. Previous imaging capabilities produced images from fractured surfaces which show grain pull-outs and not true interparticle pores (Sayers. 2010). Downloaded 06 May 2012 to 129. from mm to tens of centimeters). statistically insignificant but certainly enticing and suggestive.129 mm) shale sample used for ultrasound resonance measurements of anisotropic elastic properties (Leisure. Lower organic matter densities suggest organic volumes are greater than previously thought.7 Table 2.e.5 17. 1962) to estimate what various concentrations of these components would do to the overall anisotropy.8 × 0. anisotropy measurements on small core plugs may not sense what a logging tool does at the meter scale or what a seismic wavelength senses at tens to hundreds of meters. A value of about 0. 200. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. This has implications for determining the net to gross in a sand-shale sequence. In addition. However. The magnitude of anisotropy is dependent in a predictable way on the volumetric concentration of the constituents. hampering theoretical modeling of shale systems.109.2 20. Further observations reveal the organic matter to have porosities in excess of 50%.7 c12 9. Above (Figure 8) is a picture of a small (1.2 to 0. Composites of anisotropic and isotropic materials with welded boundaries result in a system which can possess even stronger elastic anisotropy. The values presented in Table 2 suggest the anisotropy observed in this section of the shale is homogeneous over the range of scales sampled (i. we can use a simple Backus average (Backus. The existence of porosity in organic matter changes the generic 2:1 conversion of weight percent TOC to volume percent..744 × 1. Elastic constants are given in GPa. The fundamental properties of clays and organics remain poorly defined and estimated values span considerable ranges (Prasad. Shale anisotropy has multiple causes which complicate 328 The Leading Edge March 2011 the interpretation of anisotropy measurements made on shales.org/ . consistency among measurement scales would suggest anisotropic homogeneity. A resonant ultrasound sample of Barnett Shale used to measure the anisotropic elastic constants.Note that the dipole was run in a deviated portion of the wellbore (Plona.105.1 c44 12. Assuming the properties for sand and shale presented in Table 1. Comparison of elastic constants made on shale samples and derived from a dipole log.9 55 53.5 15 15.

depending on the property. Differential pressure was maintained at 500 psi. We attribute this to the microstructural difference (Sondergeld et al. Figure 11. vertical and 45˚ core plugs as a function of confining pressure with constant differential pressure. Increasing and decreasing pressure tests are shown. and vertical plug samples from Woodford (W) and Haynesville (H) gas shales as a function of confining pressure. Zimmerman (1991) gives an excellent treatment of the topic. see Terms of Use at http://segdl. and 45˚ gas shale plugs saturated and pressurized with nitrogen. for our discussion. the pore pressure is in excess of an equivalent hydrostat to that depth. Thus the effect of pressure and overpressure on shale behavior becomes of interest. In accord with the observations by Rai and Hanson (1998). by shales. Pconf. implying there is an impermeable barrier bearing the gradient of this transition from normal to overpressure. The consequence of these observations is that the Haynesville is more likely to display a strong pressure signature upon depletion than the Woodford. we observe this velocity behavior in the Woodford shale (Figure 9). In other lithologies. Predictably.. The slope in the vertical plug is caused by the longer pore-pressure equilibration times due to the lower permeability perpendicular to bedding. and S-wave. the fundamental question is: Do velocities in shale obey the effective pressure law? If so. Compressional velocities measured on horizontal. The measured compressional velocities are presented in Figure 9 and the computed P-wave and S-wave anisotropies are plotted in Figure 10 as a function of confining pressure. anisotropies in Woodford (W) and Haynesville (H) gas shales as a function of confining pressure.109.105. Measured compressional-wave speeds in vertical. While the exact value of can be critical. the pressure dependence of velocity in the Haynesville shale is strong. Hornby (1994) found that porepressure equilibration times are very long in these laboratory experiments. Pconf is the confining pressure. this is normally interpreted as a manifestation of desiccation cracks parallel to bedding. this pressure dependency is also observed in the pressure dependence of the anisotropic parameters and . 45˚. A few gas-shale reservoirs are highly overpressured. horizontal. . Nitrogen is the pressurizing fluid. However. If the reservoir is overpressured. fresh and well-preserved shales show little pressure dependence. Figure 11 shows measurements of P-wave velocities on horizontal. The horizontal slopes suggest = 1 for the horizontal and 45˚ plugs.org/ . The pressure dependence of Woodford Shale anisotropy differs markedly from that of the Haynesville Shale. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. We have carried out similar measurements on a suite of gas shale samples from the Woodford and Haynesville shales. Figure 10. 2010). 2010). to be both greater and less than 1. March 2011 The Leading Edge 329 Downloaded 06 May 2012 to 129. The mechanical behavior of the overpressured system obeys the effective pressure law: where Peff is the effective pressure. The Woodford Shale displays much less pressure-dependence than the Haynesville Shale. this topic has been studied extensively. making seismic a potential management tool to monitor compartmentalization or bypassed gas. Ppore is the pore pressure and is the Biot coefficient. Pconf. However. Computed values of P-wave. . velocity perturbations induced by excess pore pressure can be used to detect and estimate pore pressures in shales. is an empirical constant which has static and dynamic definitions and has been measured.Shales Figure 9.. These are plots of P-wave velocities at constant differential pressure (Pd = 500 psi).15. detailed scanning electron microscopy of ion-milled samples reveals the microstructure of the Haynesville is dominated by intrinsic slot-like micropores which impart this pressure dependence (Sondergeld et al. Hornby (1998) demonstrated that two shales appear to obey the effective pressure law through direct measurements on brinesaturated North Sea shales.

doi:10. and N.1442051. SEM studies indicate that microstructural differences in shales are responsible for pressure dependencies of velocities and anisotropies. J. 51. Z. Margesson. H. B12. M. Christensen. Christensen. Sondergeld. Measurement of Young’s modulus of clay minerals using atomic force acoustic microscopy: Geophysical Research Letters. E. 13-113-4. 2002. drained shales: Journal of Geophysical Research. N. 11. the compressional velocities in the horizontal and 45˚ plugs show a simple differential pressure-dependence. Arnold. Data references Hornby. E. no. 635–643. Johnston. C.. Rai.109. Hornby*. and K. T. The elastic anisotrophy of shales: Journal of Geophysical Research. Jakobsen*. U. Zimmerman.1442515. and C. S. Seismic anisotropy of shales: Journal of Geophysical Research. 15. W. S. 103. 73. doi:10. no. 99. 1415–1422. and N. Christensen.. 67. Porepressure studies suggest shales obey the effective pressure law when proper pore-pressure equilibration times are employed. Heretofore. the fluid has access parallel to the bedding planes while the access is across the bedding planes for the vertical plug. 767–774.15. SEG. The simple explanation is that. 2606-2611.. 164–171. J. C. However. doi:10. Jones*.. 6. and M. B1. I. Anisotropy approximations for mudrocks: A seismic laboratory study: Geophysics.1029/97JB02380. The elastic properties of shale: Ph. B. 1991... Rai. F. Thus overpressured shales should display diagnostic velocity changes. Christensen. and H. E. Boldy. 1994. part 1: A single-plug laboratory method: Geophysics. no. 51. A. H. 53. B12. Thomsen. There exists a strong correlation between and and this correlation can be interpreted in terms of the ratio of normal and shear compliances between clay platelets (Sayers. 10. The pore pressure equilibration time for the vertical plug without the screening employed by Hornby (1994) is much longer. B. 2000. and N.e. and A.. Elastic constants and velocity surfaces of indurated ansiotropic shales: Surveys in Geophysics. 2008. R. Toksöz. no. thus. E. weak anisotropic assumptions should not be used in modeling shales. B4. 67.1190/1. Margesson. Ambrose. R. Long-wavelength elastic ansiotropy produced by horizontal layering: Journal of Geophysical Research. core saturation or equilibration time between measurements). Sondergeld.Shales Clearly. Prasad. L. 29945–29964. these measurements suggest that the compressional velocities in shale obey the effective pressure law. Seismic anisotropy of shales: Journal of Geophysical Research. E. 29. Mavko.. S. 2010.D. Anisotropy and amplitude versus offset: a case history from the West of Shetlands. W. Rai... On geological time scales. no. doi:10.1190/1. 65. 1994. and A. drained shales: Journal of Geophysical Research. 1998. 1992. 1994. 1981. 481–494.D.1512787. and G. Ultrasonic velocity and anisotropy of hydrocarbon source rocks: Geophysics. 727–735. Ultrasonic velocities in Cre- 330 The Leading Edge March 2011 Downloaded 06 May 2012 to 129. Whidden. Experimental determination of elastic anisotropy of Berea sandstone. with the horizontal and 45˚ plugs.1190/1. 15. 100. no.1029/93JB02579. C. doi:10. Micro-structural studies of gas shales: SPE paper 131771.1190/1. Weak elastic anisotropy: Geophysics. A petrophysical study of Floyd shale: AAPG Annual Convention. E. M. Experimental laboratory determination of the dynamic elastic properties of wet. I. 1994. Summary and conclusions Limited core measurements on shales suggest a good starting anisotropic model for the lithology is TI symmetry and that the magnitude of the anisotropy is large (20–50%). no. Extended Abstracts.1007/BF00690171. but not measurement conditions (i. M. Moncreiff. C. 2005.105.1029/95JB00031. no. and K. doi:10.1190/1. 5. doi:10. M.. J. Given these limitations. Wang.. Cambridge University. Petroleum geology of northwest Europe: Geological Society London. 1986. Tsuneyama. D1–D10. The vertical plug appears to obey a similar behavior but the response is not exactly as flat as that for the other plugs.1029/95JB00031. C. G. W.1442029. 1962.. K. E. 103. I. J. B.. 9. The elastic properties of shale: Ph... Chicopee shale and Chelmsford granite: Geophysics. 4427–4440. R.1190/1. B4.org/ . these signatures can be used to map untapped. you can predict the other with confidence. C. SEG.1029/97JB02380.1443286. C. Sondergeld. Hornby. 800–806. 100. C. 6. The effect of low aspect ratio pores on the seismic anisotropy of shales: 78th Annual International Meeting. Kopycinska. Exact seismic velocities for transversely isotropic media and extended Thomsen formulas for stronger anisotropies: Geophysics. I. isolated or compartmentalized zones. 1954–1966. G. in A. Rai. 882–888. 24. E. no. R. 2000. M. Elastic constants and velocity surfaces of indurated ansiotropic shales: Surveys in Geophys- ics. S. Johansen. E. and N. doi:10. 2008) but no correlation between either or and .1007/BF00690171.1029/JZ067i011p04427. Compressibility of sandstones: Elsevier. 1998. 5991–6003. doi:10. 2008.. Lo. see Terms of Use at http://segdl. J. 29945–29964. J. Vernik. no. Sayers. Shear-wave velocity anisotropy in sedimentary rocks: A laboratory study: Geophysics. doi:10.. Expanded Abstracts. Nur. M. E. doi:10. 2008. Johnston*. and C. L. Hanson. Johnston*. doi:10. B. Berryman. 1. doi:10. Coyner. doi:10.2813433. Berryman’s formulation should be used to model phase velocities when anisotropy is strong. Rabe and W. H. H.1444856. 2002. J. 1. 1995. 1995.1190/1. 1986. no. 1994. Velocity anisotropy estimation for brine-saturated sandstone and shale: The Leading Edge. if you know either or . 5. Hornby. 1711–1725. That is to say. Seismic anisotropy in sedimentary rocks.. Progress in refining our understanding of shales and shale anisotropy requires more and better controlled measurements as well as access to fresh and preserved cores. 5. Wang. Intrinsic anisotropy and pressure-dependence of velocities in shales are often masked by inadequate preservation after post recovery. B. 481–494. eds. 5991–6003.2056371. 1998. Johnston. most authors report measurements. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. and J. 8. Sakar. Experimental laboratory determination of the dynamic elastic properties of wet. F.1190/1. R. Cambridge University. J. Ultrasonic measurements of anisotropy on Kimmeridge shale: 70th Annual International Meeting. Equivalently. doi:10. Fleet and S. 1999.. 57. L. thesis. we expect this behavior to be observed. Sondergeld. 1994. Sayers. thesis. References Backus. doi:10. E. 1858–1861. A. 5.

doi:10. The laboratory support of Gary Stowe was critical in making these measurements. E. and M. 57. Coyner. Measurements made by J. C. 3. Nur. doi:10. doi: 10.org/ . 2008. and K. B. 46. 1968. J. see Terms of Use at http://segdl.007. 1988. 6. Ultrasonic velocity and anisotropy of hydrocarbon source rocks: Geophysics. 164–171.1512743. Sarout*. Elastic studies of isotropic and anisotropic rock samples: Transactions of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers.. Rai. A. doi:10. and A. no. Redistribution subject to SEG license or copyright. no. no. 5. Velocity anisotropy of shales and sandstones from core samples and well logs on the Norwegian contential shelf: master’s thesis. and Mriganko Sakar were incorporated in this study.. part 2: Laboratory data: Geophysics.1190/1. Sakar*. S. 53. S. 1986. Melaku*. 241.edu March 2011 The Leading Edge 331 Downloaded 06 May 2012 to 129. Lo*. E. Y. 1992.. and N. Hoteit. Experimental determination of elastic anisotropy of Berea sandstone. 896–906. 5. Gary Stowe. 727–735. University of Oslo. T.2006. 51. 1. 2006. Rai*.1442029. Gueguen. Shear-wave velocity anisotropy in sedimentary rocks: A laboratory study: Geophysics. M. H. Simmons.01.1442515. we thank them for their contributions.105.1016/j. 288–297.109. T. Hanson. C. Sondergeld. Corresponding author: csondergeld@ou.15. Vernik*. 32.pce.1190/1. Wang*. no. 2002. Z.Shales taceous shales from the Williston basin: Geophysics. 67. and C. Molez. A petrophysical study of Floyd shale: AAPG Annual Convention. Chicopee shale and Chelmsford granite: Geophysics. L. Seismic anisotropy in sedimentary rocks. K. no. doi:10. 1423–1440.1443286. Kaarsberg*. N.1441199. 470–475.1190/1.1190/1.. 800–806.. We thank Colin Sayers for his critical comments and shared insight. 2007.. M. Toksöz.1190/1. doi:10. Shale dynamic properties and anisotropy under triaxial loading: experimental and theoretical investigations: Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. Acknowledgments: This work was supported by Brown and Wagner and Devon Energy and the members of the IC3 Experimental Rock Physics Consortium.