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Pavlo Y. Cholach* and Douglas R.

Schmitt
Institute for Geophysical Research, Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton
Abstract
Shales are volumetrically the most abundant sedimentary
rocks. Shales are also known to be anisotropic to the propagation of seismic waves. Thick shale layers may significantly affect seismic wave propagation and contribute to the
distortion of a seismic image. The elastic behavior of shales
is usually associated with the properties of a transversely
isotropic (TI) medium, which can eventually be reduced to
quite simple expressions. However, the relationship
between the elastic behavior of shales and the petrophysical
properties of shales is more complex.
Here we discuss the origin of seismic anisotropy in shales
and model intrinsic elastic behavior of shales on the basis of
their textural properties. Shale texture has been quantitatively described by the orientation distribution function,
which is used in an elastic averaging procedure. The averaged elastic constants for a hypothetical shale are obtained
on the basis of the Voigt, Reuss and Hill assumptions.
Taking into account wide separation of the Voigt and the
Reuss (upper and lower) bounds for some elastic constants,
the recently developed Geometric mean method is
employed to further refine intrinsic elasticity.
The resulting averaging elastic constants are used to calculate phase velocities of an intrinsically anisotropic shale.
The predicted velocities are in good agreement with those
reported in literature for the P- and S- wave velocities of
shales obtained from experimental ultrasonic measurements.

Introduction
Knowledge of the anisotropic properties of shales is becoming increasingly important as this information is needed in
developing velocity models for accurate seismic subsurface
imaging in sedimentary basins with complex geological
structures. Incorporating elastic anisotropy into migration
algorithms is necessary for proper lateral positioning of
subsurface events (e.g. Vestrum et al., 1999).
The seismic anisotropy of shales has been well documented
in both laboratory experiments (e.g. Jones and Wang, 1981;
Vernik and Nur, 1992; Johnston and Christensen, 1995;
Jakobsen and Johansen, 2000; Wang, 2002) and field observations (Winterstein and Paulsson, 1990; Miller et al., 1994;
Kebaili, and Schmitt, 1996; Leaney et al., 1999; Leslie and
Lawton, 1999).
The source of seismic anisotropy is non-unique and it may
be produced by several factors (Fig.1). Despite steady
This paper was presented as a poster at the CSEG/CSPG joint convention
held at Calgary from June 2-6, 2003 and it won the ‘Best Student Poster
Award’

Fig. 1. Different sources of seismic anisotropy: the transversely isotropic elastic behaviour of rocks may be produced by the set of oriented cracks or pores,
by layering or by preferential alignment of constituent anisotropic minerals.
In many cases all three sources simultaneously contribute to the development
of anisotropy.

FEATURE ARTICLE

Seismic anisotropy of shales

advances in the understanding of shale elasticity based on
numerous laboratory experiments and significant progress
in the modelling of shale elasticity (Hornby et al., 1994;
Sayers, 1994; Schoenberg et al., 1996; Hornby, 1998; and
Sayers, 1999), ambiguity related to the in situ causes of seismic anisotropy still exists. The origin of seismic anisotropy
in shales may include preferred orientation (i.e. texture) of
clay platelets (Kaarsberg, 1959; Tosaya, 1982; Sayers, 1994;
Johnston and Christensen, 1995), alternation of fluid filled
collinear cracks with
clay platelets (Vernik
and
Nur,
1992;
Hornby et al., 1994),
microcracks (Vernik,
1993; Vernik and Liu,
1997), fine layering
(Schoenberg et al.,
Senior Processors and
1996), fluid filled
Supervisors
porosity
(Hornby,
1998) and stressThe successful candidate will have
induced anisotropy
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elastic behavior is
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In this contribution
the issue of the origin
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in shales has been partially addressed by
modelling the elasticity of a shale solid

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Continued on Page 40
September 2003 CSEG RECORDER 39

Due to the symmetry of both the stress and strain tensors among the other conditions. Solid line shows normal orientation distribution approximation that has been used in the modelling. To carry out ODF averaging one needs knowledge of the volumetric fraction of corresponding mineral phases. By adjusting the value of these two parameters. In short. 1982. 1994). Smaller scale image on the left shows relatively uniform texture of shale. A method of averaging the elastic properties that employ an ODF was initially applied to shales by Sayers (1993. which has a bedding plane coincide with the XY coordinate plane and Z coordinate axis aligned with the rotation symmetry axis of the medium. by calculating the expected intrinsic elastic properties of shales. a rock with a strong preference for a particular mineral alignment. Elastic properties of textured rocks In a generally homogeneous anisotropic medium. only five of the elastic constants are independent.8%) results of the modelling under the assumption of 100% muscovite composition sets the upper limit on the possible intrinsic anisotropy of shales. The ODF of a rock with a completely random orientation of crystals would be uniformly distributed in the orientation space. Close up view on the right shows predominant orientation of clay platelets within the plane of sedimentation. Here. SEM images of a Colorado Shale from the Cold Lake region (view of plane perpendicular to the sedimentation). Fig. would have the signal of its ODF mostly concentrated in a specific area of the orientation space. 1992). Cij is a 6x6 symmetric matrix composed of the 21 independent elastic components for the most general case of triclinic medium symmetry. 1990) as σi = Cijεj. in the calculations discussed here. 1981). 1959) and contributes significantly to the overall properties. ‘Intrinsic’ implies elastic anisotropy due solely to the elastic properties of the constituent minerals and their mutual orientation within the aggregate. In this development. No preferential lateral direction provides TI symmetry of shale (see text for details). 1994) who wanted to identify the textural parameters responsible for anisotropy. and the matrix of elastic constants has the form: In order to model the intrinsic anisotropy of shales a clay platelet orientation distribution computed from a digitized SEM Fig. 3. Therefore. stress and strain are specified by second–rank tensors σij and εkl. and does not include the effects of cracks.g. Our modelling is based on the volume averaging with the orientation distribution function (ODF) f(g) (Viglin. Eighty one components of the forth-rank tensor Cijkl are known as elastic constants or stiffnesses and fully describe the elastic properties of anisotropic medium. 1960) and the Geometric mean averaging technique. Continued on Page 41 40 CSEG RECORDER September 2003 . Putnis. ODFs carry quantitative information about the mineralogical texture and can be incorporated into the calculations of the physical properties of textured aggregates. He suggested that only two of the ODF expansion coefficients affect the seismic anisotropy of shales with vertical transversely isotropic (VTI) symmetry. or scale effects. However. Illite is usually the most abundant clay mineral in shales (Kaarsberg. Due to extremely high anisotropy of a single muscovite crystal (for compressional wave Ap=(Vpmax-Vpmin)/Vpmeanx100% = 56. The results of his modelling show that shales might develop strong anelliptic anisotropy due to intrinsic textural properties. as might be observed in strongly foliated gneisses. acceptable measurements of the full elastic properties of the clay minerals have not yet been carried out because of a small (typically submicron) crystal size. he investigated anelliptic shale anisotropy. For the medium of transversely isotropic (TI) symmetry. intrinsic anisotropy caused by a realistic shale texture has not been investigated. respec- tively. i. the properties of the muscovite mica crystal are assumed to be elastically equivalent to illite (Tosaya. Unfortunately. This is not unreasonable as the structures of both layered silicates are similar with the replacement of some of the K+ in illite by H3O+ ions (e. the textural orientation distributions and elasticity of the constituent clay minerals. b) Pole figure (equal-area projection) of illite [001] crystallographic axis. The ODF is a function that defines the probability the crystallographic axes of a specific mineral lie within a certain range of orientations relative to the frame of reference of the sample.e.Feature Article Cont’d Seismic anisotropy of shales Continued from Page 39 matrix. These quantities are related by a generalized Hook’s Law: σij = Cijklεkl (here the Einstein summation convention is employed). Shale texture used in the modelling: a) Orientation distribution of clay platelet normals reproduced from Hornby et al. the assumption is made that the shale’s matrix is composed solely of illite. 2.g. Cijkl also expresses the symmetry and can be simplified to the matrix form written in the Voigt notation (see Nye. Sayers. layering. For instance. (1994). Bunge. ODFs are widely used in metallurgy to quantitatively describe textural properties of metals and alloys (e.

M(l) is a number of linearly independent spherical harmonics for specific symmetry. For a transversely isotropic medium only five of the expansion coefficients C211. Kocks et al. Morse and Feshbach. Initial bedding-parallel preferred orientation of clay minerals in shales might be developed during the depositional process. 1982): (1) where are symmetrical generalized spherical harmonics (SGSH) constructed to fulfill both constituent single crystal hexagonal symmetry and shales TI symmetry conditions. This is most often done using thin-section microscopy and well developed presently X-ray. The ODF is normalized: (3) where For a discrete orientation space g. C431 are independent. A welldeveloped clay mineral texture such as seen in the Colorado shale (Fig. neutron. 1953). C421. Integration of the single crystal elastic constants weighted by the ODF over all the values of the orientation domain g yields elastic constants in the Voigt approximation of uniform strain throughout the aggregate: (2) where g={ϕ1. The ODF f(g) may be expanded into a series of symmetrical generalized spherical harmonics (Bunge. (1999) on a sequence of pelites from the Gulf Coast.Feature Article Cont’d Seismic anisotropy of shales Continued from Page 40 image of shale sample (Hornby et al. 4a). 3b. The ODF quantitatively defines information about rock textural properties and can be obtained from the measured pole figures of the distributions of crystallographic axes of the constituent minerals (Bunge. Clµν are coefficients of the SGSH that carry an information about shale texture.ϕ2} is the orientation domain that employs the three Euler angles (cf. The Geometric mean averaging fulfills the requirement of elastic stiffnesses to compliances invertibility. Furthermore. The resulting distribution of the illite [001] crystallographic axis is shown on the pole figure (equalarea projection) of Fig.g. The separation of the Voigt upper and the Reuss lower bounds depends on the degree of anisotropy of the constituent minerals.3a).. equation (2) can be rewritten in the form: (4) Equation (4) explicitly defines the elastic constants of polycrystalline aggregate in the Voigt approximation as the arithmetic mean of the single crystal elastic constants weighted by the ODF f(g). However. Following Matthies and Humbert (1993) the elastic constants of the aggregate averaged by the Geometric mean method may be schematically expressed: (5) where 〈Cijkl〉 are the Geometric mean averaged elastic constants of the textured rock. C411. 1982). as averaging over either elastic constants or compliances yields an identical result. C421 and C431 vanish and only three non-zero coefficients (C011≡1. The orientation distribution of clay platelets was reproduced from Hornby et al.. 2) results in seismic anisotropy. The Voigt-Reuss (VR) values are generally assumed to provide the bounding limits of the possible elastic constants of the polycrystalline aggregate (Hill. shales would be seismically isotropic (Fig. C221. A similar procedure of averaging over the elastic compliance tensor Sijkl yields a result consistent with the Reuss approximation of uniform stress throughout the textured aggregate. 〈Cijkl〉 are independent of the averaging domain and. represent unique solutions of the ODF averaging procedure. Note that in equation (1) ƒ4(g) represents truncation (to the order l=4) of the infinite expansion series of f(g). the strong preferred orientation of clay platelets (Fig. 1994) was used. 2) most probably developed during the diagenetic transition from smectite to illite as shown by Ho et al. and electron diffraction (EBSD) techniques (e. The Geometric mean concept applied here allows one to obtain a unique solution that is invariant to the averaging domain and lies within the VR bounds. Averaging the elastic constants by the ODF for transversely isotropic shales has been discussed in detail by Sayers (1994). the elastic constants of a textured poly~ crystalline aggregate C ijkl can be approximated by a mean value – Cijkl that may be expressed through the elastic constants of the constituent single crystal Cijkl and the orientation distribution function ƒ(g) of the aggregate. the most physically meaningful average would be the one that allows invertibility of elastic stiffnesses into elastic compliances. 1998). (1994) and is approximated by the normal distribution function (Fig.Φ. In the case of random orientation distribution of constituent minerals. The normal distribution approximation was than used to compose the ODF under the assumption of transversely isotropic (TI) intrinsic shale symmetry (no preferable lateral variations of the clay platelet normals). The elastic constants obtained from the Geometric mean ODF averaging procedure Continued on Page 42 September 2003 CSEG RECORDER 41 .’ Following Bunge (1982). therefore. 1952). Therefore. It is worth noting that the elastic compliances Sijkl obtained by using the Reuss approximation do not give the elastic constants Cijkl obtained by using the Voigt approximation. if the rotational symmetry axis of the TI medium is aligned with the Z axis of the right handed XYZ sample coordinate system and medium is composed of hexagonal crystals the coefficients C221. C211 and C411) contribute to the elasticity of the textured aggregate.

3. intrinsic elastic anisotropy is reduced with respect to the single crystal anisotropy (Fig. Solution of the cubic Christoffel equation for any specific slowness direction yields three positive values of the squared phase velocity. as expected. intrinsically shales can be highly anisotropic if compared to the majority of sedimentary rocks (see Thomsen. b) Anisotropic aggregate of TI symmetry with texture shown on Fig. The calculated and measured shear wave surfaces have very similar elastic behaviour with the higher calculated intrinsic anisotropy of shear waves due to the relatively low value of the modelled 〈C44〉 elastic constant. Hill approximations and the Geometric mean average: a) Isotropic case of random orientation distribution of constituent minerals. Velocity calculation Elastic constants of the polycrystalline aggregate obtained from the averaging procedure described previously were used to calculate intrinsic phase velocities of shales by solving the Christoffel equation1 (cf. along the symmetry axes. which is in agreement with Johnston and Christensen’s (1995) conclusions. 1970). Therefore. Elastic constants calculated under the Voigt.Feature Article Cont’d Seismic anisotropy of shales Continued from Page 41 order to be comparable with those of the Chattanooga Shale (Johnston and Christensen. 4b. Single crystal elastic constants are shown for comparison. 1993). The elastic stiffnesses calculated using the Geometric mean technique to average stiffnesses and compliances coincide and provide a unique averaging solution within the VR bounds. Phase velocity surfaces (P.e. 1995). In an anisotropic medium pure P and S modes exist only in so-called ‘longitudinal directions’ (Helbig. The experimentally observed P-wave anisotropy of Chattanooga Shale can be explained on the basis of intrinsic anisotropy and attributed to textural shale properties. Continued on Page 43 42 CSEG RECORDER September 2003 . The elastic constants obtained by the Geometric mean averaging were used to calculate phase velocities (Fig. Phase velocity surfaces are normalized in Fig. Fig. Elastic constants of modelled aggregate in the Voigt. are shown in Fig. 1986). 5. Prefix ‘quasi’ refers to complications with regards to the relationships between wave propagation and polarization directions. The results obtained indicate that. Phase velocity surfaces resulted from the solution of the Christoffel equation for all wavefront propagation directions within the symmetry planes are shown in Fig. Normalized compressional and shear waves phase surfaces are in good agreement with those calculated from the elastic constants of the Chattanooga Shale reported by Johnston and Christensen (1995). The elastic constants obtained from ultrasonic velocity measurements at a confining pressure of 50 MPa have been used in the phase velocity calculation because at this confining pressure effects of pores and microcracks are significantly reduced and velocity anisotropy reflects mainly intrinsic elastic properties of Chattanooga Shale with illite as the predominant clay mineral. 5. SV and SH) and polarization directions of the modelled intrinsically anisotropic shale compared with phase velocity surfaces of the Chattanooga Shale that have been calculated from the elastic constants obtained from the laboratory measurements at confining pressure of 50 MPa (see Johnston and Christensen. 5). Unique Geometric mean solution fulfills the requirement of the stiffnesses to compliances invertibility and lies within the VR bounds relatively close to the Hill average (Fig. However. 1995). Musgrave. i. Reuss. 4a). 4). Discussion and conclusions The intrinsic elasticity of shales has been modelled by the ODF averaging of the elastic constants of shale constituent minerals. Reuss and Hill assumptions also are shown for comparison. Chattanooga Shale elastic constants were obtained from the laboratory ultrasonic measurements at a confining pressure of 50 MPa and reflect mainly the intrinsic properties of the shale predominantly composed of illite (Johnston and Christensen. 4. 1995). the Geometric mean method has been applied with the ODF averaging procedure. The VR bounds allow significant variation in the values of intrinsic elastic constants of shales (Fig. which correspond to the quasi-P-wave and two quasi-S-waves in an anisotropic medium. 4).

177: K47-K50. Morse. P.E. 21. Tosaya. the elasticity of the constituent minerals. Sayers.. C.. 1999.. Vernik. His research interests include elastic properties of rocks and seismic wave propagation in anisotropic media. Thomsen. J. 2002. Res. Muir.texture function. J... 51(10): 1954-1966. L.659-21. Hornby. Tome. We would be very interested in obtaining high quality core samples of shales if available. 46: 288-297. New York. J.phys. Pasadena and carried out postdoctoral research on logging and stress measurement at Stanford University. and Sayers. the overall elasticity of shales depends not only on intrinsic mineralogical properties but also on the presence of oriented microcracks (e.. London. and Borland.-C.. 99(B1): 767-774. and Paulsson. 593 pp. 64(4): 1247-1252. He returned to graduate school obtaining his doctorate in 1987 from the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech. 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N.A. and Feshbach. the results are best employed after experimental testing. C. and Wang. Seis. While these calculations provide insight into the anisotropy of shales. 1998. Leaney. 1993. D. Geophysics.. References Bunge. University of Alberta pursuing a doctoral degree in geophysics. Stanford University..A. C. 2: 2195-2207. A refraction-seismic field study to determine the anisotropic parameters of shales. F. The realization of the concept of a geometric mean for calculating physical constants of polycrystalline materials. Doug Schmitt is a Professor in Geophysics at the University of Alberta. Stanford.. C. 1423-1440.. 1994. i. London. (b). H.Feature Article Cont’d Seismic anisotropy of shales Continued from Page 42 Modelling of the intrinsic anisotropy of shales is based on several assumptions including simplified shale mineralogical composition. Amsterdam. 1999. He was awarded an A. E.. Geophysics. R. Thesis. Hornby. Z. D. Introduction to the study of elastic wave and vibrations in crystals. S. therefore. Vestrum. Acknowledgements This work is supported by a research grant from the Petroleum Research Fund administered by the American Chemical Society and by D.-J. and Hudson. Velocity anisotropy in shales: A petrophysical study. Putnis. Each of these assumptions may not hold in real shales and. Soc. Vernik.. Geophys.. He is a student member of CSEG. W. Holden-Day series in mathematical physics. Methods of theoretical physics. Ultrasonic velocity and anisotropy of hydrocarbon source rocks.. Leaney. Kocks. and van der Pluijm. J. 1993.665. Hornby. D. L. Introducing ANNIE: a simple threeparameter anisotropic velocity model for shales. 67: 447-472. J. T. 55(4): 470-479. We currently are carrying out a COURSE funded project to construct a database on shale elasticity on core samples from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Anisotropic approximation for mudrocks: A seismic laboratory study.A..M. B. Musgrave. London. Geophysics. calculated and observed phase velocity surfaces are not expected to coincide completely. Preferred orientations in polycrystals and their effect on materials properties. 136 pp. AAPG and AGU. 1999. Jones. Microcrack-induced versus intrinsic elastic anisotropy in mature HCsource shales.. J. Furthermore. phys. Schoenberg. 1998) and the in situ distribution of stresses (Sayers. Ph.. SEG. Geophysics. 1999. and Miller. and Schmitt. 1982. C. 2000. Clays and Clay minerals. Geophysics.. Introduction to mineral sciences. R. 1982.M. 1996. Cambridge University Press.. 1994.g.. X. and Nur. and Christensen. vonHumboldt research fellowship that allowed him to work at the Geophysikalisches Institut at UniKarlsruhe. A. factors that may significantly influence seismic anisotropy and cannot be ignored. S. L. J. N. Geophysics.E.. and Liu.. Kebaili. Nye. 65(A): 349-354.. drained shales. Texture and anisotropy.ualberta. 1999.. Butterworths.. stat. and Lawton. B. Velocity anisotropy in shale determined from crosshole seismic and vertical seismic profile data. Cambridge University Press. 288 pp. 64(1): 93-98.D. Geophysics. Germany in 1996-97 and in November 2002 was promoted to a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Rock Physics. 100(B4): 5991-6003. He wanted to be a scientist since he was 5 years old. Experimental laboratory determination of the dynamic elastic properties of wet. 64(4): 1172-1180. Res. Seismic anisotropy of shales.m for a matlab code that solves for the three phase velocities in terms of the propagation direction] R Pavlo Cholach is currently a graduate student in the Institute for Geophysical Research. Schmitt’s NSERC discovery grants. the amount of the fluid-filled porosity (e. Physical properties of crystals. Kaarsberg. J. 5: 35-49. M. Peacor. Hill. Introductory studies of natural and artificial argillaceous aggregates by sound-propagation and X-ray diffraction methods. [Visit http://www. Oxford University Press.. N.