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Observing Fracture Lineaments With Euler Curvature

Observing Fracture Lineaments With Euler Curvature

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KURT J. MARFURT, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Abstract

In the last several years, seismic-curvature attributes have

been shown to be very useful in delineation of folds, exures,

and faults. Although many curvature measures have been

introduced, the most-positive and most-negative principal

curvatures (k1 and k2) are found to be the most useful. All

other curvature measures can be derived from the two principal curvatures. For example, the components of apparent

curvature projected parallel to the dip azimuth and strike of

a dipping plane are useful in given tectonic and stress settings. Euler curvature is a generalization of the dip and strike

components of curvature in any user-dened direction, as

applied to the interpretation of surface-seismic data. This attribute is useful for interpretation of lineament features in

desired azimuthal directions, for example, perpendicular to

the minimum horizontal stress. If a given azimuth is known

or hypothesized to be correlated with open fractures or if a

given azimuth can be correlated with enhanced production

or eective horizontal drilling, a Euler-curvature intensity

volume can be generated for that azimuth, thereby highgrading potential sweet spots.

Introduction

In his seminal paper, Roberts (2001) describes 12 types

of surface-based attribute measures. Many of those attributes have been extended to volume computations and

have been implemented on interpretation workstations. Of

those dierent curvature attributes, the most-positive and

most-negative principal curvatures (k1 and k2) are the most

popular.

Not only are k1 and k2 intuitively easy to understand,

they also provide more continuous maps of faults and exures than the maximum and minimum curvatures. Mathematically, kmax is the eigenvalue and max is the azimuth of

the eigenvector that best represents the deformation of a

2D surface in a 3D volume; kmin and min represent the less

intense deformation in the orthogonal direction. For this

reason, kmax and kmin can rapidly change sign at fault and

exure intersections.

We also prefer to use strike s rather than the perpendicular azimuth because it implies clearly that curvature has a

periodicity of 180. Although several other practitioners have

used other attributes such as the mean curvature, Gaussian

curvature, and shape index, some other curvature attributes

which Roberts (2001) introduces warrant investigation and

form the motivation for the present work. One of them is

Euler curvature.

Discontinuity attributes are used routinely to map fault

traces and fault damage zones. Subsequent image-processing

algorithms can then be used to estimate the strike of the

discontinuities. Although this method generally works

122

February 2014

displacement will often mask weaker anomalies so that only

the dominant fracture lineaments are mapped.

Image-processing lters can provide direct user control

on discontinuity enhancement. Singh et al. (2008) use an

ant-tracking algorithm to enhance discontinuities associated with hypothesized fracture corridors that have a specic

azimuthal orientation, which are then merged into a single

3D volume of fracture clusters. Ant tracking is a proprietary

iterative scheme that progressively tries to connect adjacent

zones of low coherence that have been ltered to eliminate

horizontal features associated with stratigraphy. Although

ant-tracking algorithms also can be applied to most-positive

and most-negative principal curvature lineaments, a more

natural method is to compute a suite of Euler curvatures.

Denition and workow

In this paper, we describe the application of volumetric

Euler curvature to 3D seismic data volumes. Euler curvature

can be thought of as apparent curvature perpendicular to a

given strike direction. If (k1, s1) and (k2, s2) represent the

magnitude and strike of the most-positive and most-negative

principal curvatures, then the Euler curvature at an angle s

in the dipping plane tangent to the analysis point (where s1

and s2 are orthogonal) is given as

ke(s) = k1cos 2(s s2 ) + k2 sin2(s s2 ).

(1)

considerably across a seismic survey, it is more useful to

equally sample azimuths of Euler curvature on the horizontal x-y-plane, project the lines onto the local dipping

plane of the reector, and implement equation 1. The ow

diagram in Figure 1 explains the method for computing

Euler curvature.

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INTERPRETERS CORNER

Applications

Mapping the intensity of a given fracture set has been a

major objective of reection seismologists. The most successful work has used attributes computed by azimuthally limited

prestack data volumes. Chopra et al. (2000) show how coherence attributes computed from azimuthally restricted seismic

volumes can enhance subtle features hidden or blurred in the

all-azimuth volume. Vector-tile and other migration-sorting

techniques are now the method of choice for conventional

P-wave and converted-wave prestack imaging (e.g., Jianming

^ 90

Curvature, acoustic impedance, and coherence are currently the most eective attributes used to predict fractures

in the poststack world (e.g., Hunt et al., 2010). Rather than

map the intensity of the strongest attribute lineaments, Singh

et al. (2008) use an image-processing (ant-tracking) algorithm to enhance curvature and coherence lineaments that

were parallel to the strike of open fractures, at an angle of

about 45 to the strike of the strongest lineaments.

^ 45

^ 0

^45

Figure 2. 3D chair views of the correlation of vertical slice through seismic amplitude with the strat-cube through a suite of (a) long-wavelength

and (b) short-wavelength Euler-curvature attribute volumes. The term strat-cube used here refers to a slab of attribute data about a given

horizon and so is equivalent to a suite of stratal slices For each strike, the orthogonal lineaments appear more well dened than those in other

directions. 100 km2 of data are shown on the curvature displays.

February 2014

123

INTERPRETERS CORNER

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^ 90

^ 45

^ 0

^45

Figure 3. 3D chair views of the correlation of a vertical slice through seismic amplitude with a suite of strat-cubes through (a) long-wavelength

and (b) short-wavelength Euler-curvature attribute volumes. For each azimuth strike, the lineaments appear more well dened than those in

other directions.

Henning et al. (2010) use related technology to azimuthally lter lineaments in the Eagle Ford Formation of southern Texas. They then compute rms maps of each azimuthally

limited volume that can be correlated to production. Guo et

al. (2010) hypothesize that each azimuthally limited attribute

volume computed from k1 and s1 corresponds to open fractures. Each volume is then correlated to production to validate or reject the hypothesis.

Daber and Boe (2010) describe the use of what they refer

to as azimuthal curvature (described here as Euler curvature

following Roberts denition) for reducing noise in a poststack curvature volume. Daber and Boe (2010) show that

if the azimuthal direction is parallel to the inline direction,

then the curvature computation is relatively insensitive to the

crossline acquisition noise.

We describe here the application of Euler curvature to

two 3D seismic volumes from northeastern British Columbia, Canada. We propose an interactive workow, much as

we do in generating a suite of shaded relief maps on which

we display apparent dip rather than apparent (Euler) curvature.

Figure 2 shows 3D chair-view displays for Euler curvature

for strikes of 90, 45, 0, and +45. Figure 2a displays the

long-wavelength version, and Figure 2b displays the shortwavelength version. Notice that for s = 90 lineaments in

the east-west direction seem to stand out. For s = 45, the

lineaments that are almost northwest-southeast are seen as

pronounced. Similarly, for s = 0, the roughly north-south

events stand out, and for s = +45, the events slightly inclined

to the vertical are more well dened. The same description to

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February 2014

the short-wavelength displays that show more lineament detail and resolution than the long-wavelength display.

Figure 3 shows similar 3D chair-view displays. Again,

notice the lineaments becoming pronounced for particular

azimuth directions.

The fact that the Euler-curvature displays furnish greater

lineament detail can be gauged from Figure 4, in which we

show stratal slices from four Euler-curvature orientations

and compare them with an equivalent coherence display. Although the dominant discontinuity direction is north-south,

there are some discontinuities along other inclinations as

well. A good deal more lineament detail is seen in the displays

for s = 45, s = 0, and s = +45. Not much is seen in the

east-west direction because not much of the coherence stratal

slice is shown in that orientation.

There are obvious advantages to running Euler curvature

on poststack seismic volumes because azimuth directions can

be chosen carefully to highlight lineaments in the directions

known through image logs or production data to better correlate to open fractures. That does not entail the processing

of azimuth-restricted volumes (usually three or four) all the

way to migration and then passing them through coherence/

curvature computation.

Conclusions

Euler curvature conducted in desired azimuthal directions

provides a quantitative estimate of deformation in a user-dened

direction that then could be correlated to borehole, microseismic, and production measurements. Depending on the

seismic data quality and the desired level of detail, one can use

INTERPRETERS CORNER

Euler curvature shows broader exures and folds, and shortwavelength Euler curvature often shows discrete fracture lineaments.

References

Chopra, S., V. Sudhakar, G. Larsen, and H. Leong, 2000, Azimuth

based coherence for detecting faults and fractures: World Oil, 21,

September, 5762.

Daber, R. E., and T. H. Boe, 2010, Using azimuthal curvature as a

method for reducing noise in poststack curvature volumes: 72nd

Conference and Exhibition, EAGE, Extended Abstracts, D024.

Guo, Y., K. Zhang, and K. J. Marfurt, 2010, Seismic attribute illumination of Woodford Shale faults and fractures, Arkoma Basin, OK:

80th Annual International Meeting, SEG, Expanded Abstracts,

13721376, http://dx.doi.org/10.1190/1.3513097.

Henning, A. T., R. Martin, G. Paton, and R. Kelvin, 2010, Data conditioning and seismic attribute analysis in the Eagle Ford Shale

Play: Examples from Sinor Ranch, Live Oak County, Texas: 80th

Annual International Meeting, SEG, Expanded Abstracts, 1297

1301, http://dx.doi.org/10.1190/1.3513081.

Chopra, 2010, Quantitative estimate of fracture density variations in the Nordegg with azimuthal AVO and curvature: A case

study: The Leading Edge, 29, no. 9, 11221137, http://dx.doi.

org/10.1190/1.3485773.

Jianming, T., H. Yue, X. Xiangrong, J. Tinnin, and J. Hallin, 2009,

Application of converted-wave 3D/3-C data for fracture detection

in a deep tight-gas reservoir: The Leading Edge, 28, no. 7, 826

837, http://dx.doi.org/10.1190/1.3167785.

Roberts, A., 2001, Curvature attributes and their application to 3D

interpreted horizons: First Break, 19, 8599.

Singh, S. K., H. Abu-Habbiel, B. Khan, M. Akbar, A. Etchecopar,

and B. Montaron, 2008, Mapping fracture corridors in naturally

fractured reservoirs: An example from Middle East carbonates:

First Break, 26, 109113.

Acknowledgments: We thank Arcis Seismic Solutions, TGS, Calgary, for permission to show the data examples and for permission

to publish this work.

Corresponding author: SChopra@arcis.com

Figure 4. Stratal displays from Euler-curvature attribute volumes (long-wavelength) run at dierent strikes, as indicated. For each strike, the

lineaments appear more well dened than those in other directions, and lineament detail on those individual displays is more pronounced than

on the coherence display.

126

February 2014

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