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10.1190/1.3483770

and reservoir heterogeneity in high-porosity siliciclastic sediments

and rocks — A review of selected models and suggested work flows

INTRODUCTION

ABSTRACT

Rock physics provides a link between geologic reservoir parame-

Rock physics has evolved to become a key tool of reservoir ters 共e.g., porosity, clay content, sorting, lithology, saturation兲 and

geophysics and an integral part of quantitative seismic inter- seismic properties 共e.g., acoustic impedance, P-wave/S-wave veloc-

pretation. Rock-physics models adapted to site-specific dep- ity ratio VP / VS, bulk density, and elastic moduli兲. Rock-physics

osition and compaction help extrapolate rock properties models can be used to interpret observed sonic and seismic veloci-

away from existing wells and, by so doing, facilitate early ex- ties in terms of reservoir parameters or to extrapolate beyond the

ploration and appraisal. Many rock-physics models are avail- available data range to examine certain what-if scenarios, such as

able, each having benefits and limitations. During early ex- plausible fluid or lithology variations. Along this line, rock physics

ploration or in frontier areas, direct use of empirical site-spe- can be used to forecast seismic response to assumed reservoir and

cific models may not help because such models have been overburden properties and conditions.

created for areas with possibly different geologic settings. At Rock-physics models also help infer 共diagnose兲 rock texture of

the same time, more advanced physics-based models can be sandstones or shales if we know porosity and elastic-wave velocity.

too uncertain because of poor constraints on the input param- Such diagnostics assume that, e.g., if velocity-porosity data fall on a

eters without well or laboratory data to adjust these parame- theoretical cemented-rock trend, the rock is cemented. This seem-

ters. A hybrid modeling approach has been applied to silici- ingly circular logic helps us better understand rock properties be-

clastic unconsolidated to moderately consolidated sedi- yond elasticity. For example, if rock is cemented, one may expect

ments. Specifically in sandstones, a physical-contact theory higher strength than in uncemented rock of the same porosity and

共such as the Hertz-Mindlin model兲 combined with theoretical mineralogy. It is also likely that the permeability 共at the same porosi-

elastic bounds 共such as the Hashin-Shtrikman bounds兲 mim- ty兲 of cemented rock is higher than that of uncemented rock. This ef-

ics the elastic signatures of porosity reduction associated fect has a simple physical explanation: Loose pore-filling material

with depositional sorting and diagenesis, including mechani- 共or noncontact cement兲 increases the specific surface area and thus

cal and chemical compaction. For soft shales, the seismic decreases permeability, as opposed to pore-filling material occurring

properties are quantified as a function of pore shape and oc-

as contact cement 共Bosl et al., 1998; Dvorkin and Brevik, 1999兲.

currence of cracklike porosity with low aspect ratios. A work

Local geologic trends can help constrain rock-physics models.

flow for upscaling interbedded sands and shales using

Such trends can be split into two types: compactional and deposi-

Backus averaging follows the hybrid modeling of individual

tional. If we can predict the expected change in seismic response as a

homogenous sand and shale layers. Different models can be

function of depositional environment or burial depth, we will in-

included in site-specific rock-physics templates and used for

crease our ability to locate hydrocarbons, especially where little or

quantitative interpretation of lithology, porosity, and pore

no well-log information is available. Understanding the geologic

fluids from well-log and seismic data.

constraints in an area of exploration reduces the range of expected

variability in rock properties and hence reduces the uncertainties in

seismic reservoir prediction.

Manuscript received by the Editor 11 January 2010; revised manuscript received 11 May 2010; published online 14 September 2010.

1

Odin Petroleum, Bergen, Norway. E-mail: per.avseth@odin-petroleum.no.

2

Stanford University, Energy Resource Engineering Department, Stanford, California, U.S.A. E-mail: mukerji@stanford.edu.

3

Stanford University, Department of Geophysics, Stanford Rock Physics Laboratory, Stanford, California, U.S.A. E-mail: mavko@stanford.edu; dvorkin@

stanford.edu.

© 2010 Society of Exploration Geophysicists. All rights reserved.

75A31

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75A32 Avseth et al.

Several workers 共e.g., Vernik and Nur, 1992; Dvorkin and Nur, to describe a mixture of the newly deposited sediment at critical po-

1996; Anselmetti and Eberli, 1997; Florez, 2005兲 recognize that the rosity with additional mineral instead of describing a mixture of

slope of velocity-porosity 共or impedance-porosity兲 trends in sand- mineral and pore fluid. A slight improvement over the modified up-

stones is highly variable and depends largely on the geologic process per HS bound as a diagenetic trend for sands can be obtained by

that controls porosity 共Figure 1兲. Relatively steep velocity-porosity steepening the high-porosity end. An effective way to do this is to

trends for sandstones are representative of porosity variations con- use Dvorkin’s model 共Dvorkin and Nur, 1996兲 for cementing grain

trolled by diagenesis, i.e., porosity reduction from pressure solution, contacts. The contact-cement model captures the rapid increase in

compaction, and cementation. Hence, we often see steep velocity- elastic stiffness of a sand with little change in porosity as the first bits

porosity trends when examining data spanning a great range of of cement are added. The depositional or sorting trends can be de-

depths or ages. The classical empirical trends of Wyllie et al. 共1956兲, scribed with a series of modified HS lower bounds. By combining a

Raymer et al. 共1980兲, Han 共1986兲, and Raiga-Clemenceau et al. contact-cement model with such sorting trends, we can create lines

共1988兲 show versions of the steep, diagenetically controlled veloci- of constant depth but variable texture, sorting, and/or clay content

ty-porosity trend. On the other hand, porosity change resulting from 共Avseth et al. 关2000兴 also refer to these as constant-cement lines兲. Fi-

variations in sorting and clay content tend to yield much flatter ve- nally, we demonstrate how we can use these models to quantify the

locity-porosity trends, meaning that porosity controlled by sedimen- rock texture of sandstones based on North Sea well data.

tation is generally expected to yield flatter trends, which we some- To interpret the observed seismic contrast, we also need to know

times refer to as depositional trends. Data sets from narrow depth the rock properties of shales. These require more complex rock-

ranges or individual reservoirs often 共though not always兲 show this physics models to capture cracklike pore shapes, intrinsic mi-

behavior 共Avseth et al., 2005兲. croporosity, and diagenetic mineral transitions. An upscaling ap-

A range of different models can be used in rock-physics analysis proach is discussed to model the effective rock-physics properties of

共Dræge et al., 2006a; Mavko et al., 2009兲. Every model has certain sands interbedded with shales.

advantages and limitations. We follow Box and Draper 共1987兲 in be-

lieving that “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” Most rock-

physics models relevant to the scope of this paper are aimed at de- ROCK-PHYSICS MODELS — AN OVERVIEW

scribing relations between measurable seismic parameters and rock/

Theoretical models

fluid properties. Although our intent is not to review all models ex-

haustively, many fall within three general classes: theoretical, em- Theoretical models are primarily continuum-mechanics approxi-

pirical, and heuristic. We provide a condensed discussion of mations of the elastic, viscoelastic, or poroelastic properties of

different modeling approaches as well as a more detailed analysis of rocks. Among the most famous are the poroelastic models of Biot

our hybrid approach, where we combine contact theory 共granular 共1956兲, who was among the first to formulate the coupled mechani-

media兲 or pore-shape-constrained models with heuristic bounds to cal behavior of a porous rock embedded with a linear viscous fluid.

predict sedimentary microstructure and geologic trends from elastic The Biot equations reduce to the famous Gassmann 共1951兲 relations

properties. at zero frequency; hence, we often refer to Biot-Gassmann fluid sub-

In particular, diagenetic trends, which connect newly deposited stitution. Elastic models tend to be bounds, inclusion models, dis-

sediment on the Reuss elastic bound with the mineral point at zero placement-discontinuty models, contact models, computational

porosity, often can be described accurately using the upper Hashin- models, and transformations.

Shtrikman 共HS兲 bound 共Hashin and Shtrikman, 1963兲. In fact, we Bounds such as the Voigt-Reuss 共VR兲 or HS are the silent heroes

sometimes refer to it as a modified upper HS bound because we use it of rock models. They are extremely robust and relatively free of ide-

alizations and approximations, other than representing the rock as an

6000 elastic composite. Originally, bounds were treated only as describ-

ing the limits of elastic behavior; some geophysicists even consid-

ered them of limited usefulness. However, they have turned out to be

5000

valuable mixing laws that allow accurate interpolation of sorting and

Processes that

cementing trends and are the rigorously correct equations to describe

P-wave velocity (m/s)

4000 compaction, stress, suspensions and fluid mixtures.

diagenesis Inclusion models usually approximate the rock as an elastic solid

Voigt avg. containing cavities 共inclusions兲, representing the pore space. Be-

3000 cause the inclusion cavities are more compliant than solid mineral,

Newly deposited they have the effect of reducing the overall elastic stiffness of the

clean sand rock in an isotropic or anisotropic way. Most inclusion models as-

2000

sume that the pore cavities are ellipsoidal or penny shaped 共Eshelby,

Reuss bound

Suspensions

1957; Walsh, 1965; Kuster and Toksöz, 1974; O’Connell and Budi-

1000 ansky, 1974, 1977; Cheng, 1978, 1993; Hudson, 1980, 1981, 1990;

0 20 40 60 80 100

Crampin, 1984; Johansen et al., 2002兲. Berryman 共1980兲 generalizes

Suspensions Porosity (%)

Sand-clay mixt. the self-consistent description so that the pores and grains are con-

Sand

Clay-free sandstone

Clay-bearing sandstone

sidered to be ellipsoidal inclusions in the composite. Inclusion mod-

els have contributed tremendous insights as elastic analogs of rock

Figure 1. P-wave velocity versus porosity for a variety of water-satu- behavior. However, their limitation to idealized 共and unrealistic兲

rated sediments, compared with the Voigt-Reuss bounds. Data from pore geometries makes comparing the models to actual pore micro-

Yin 共1992兲, Han 共1986兲, and Hamilton 共1956兲. geometry difficult.

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Rock physics analysis of siliciclastics 75A33

Displacement discontinuity or excess compliance models have clay behavior in sandstones, the Greenberg-Castagna 共1992兲 VP / VS

been used to model the long-wavelength elastic behavior of rocks relations, and the Gardner et al. 共1974兲 VP-density relations.

with aligned fractures 共Schoenberg and Douma, 1988; Sayers and Empirical relations are sometimes disguised as theoretical. For

Kachanov, 1995; Schoenberg and Sayers, 1995兲. These do not as- example, the popular model of Xu and White 共1995兲 for VS predic-

sume elliptical inclusions but approximate the fractures as infinitesi- tion in shaly sands is based on the Kuster-Toksöz ellipsoidal inclu-

mally thin planes of displacement discontinuity, parameterized by sion formulation. One unknown aspect ratio is assigned to represent

their normal and shear compliances, representing the extra compli- the compliant clay pore space, and a second unknown aspect ratio is

ance of the fractures relative to the background rock. Use of these assigned to represent the stiffer sand pore space. These aspect ratios

models requires estimating the fracture compliances 共or stiffnesses兲 are determined empirically by calibrating to training data. In other

empirically or with model-based methods such as penny-shaped words, this is an empirical model in which the function form of the

cracks. regression is taken from an elastic model. It is useful to remember

Contact models approximate the rock as a collection of separate that all empirical relations involve this two-step process of a model-

grains whose elastic properties are determined by the deformability ing step to determine the functional form, followed by a calibration

and stiffness of their grain-to-grain contacts. Most of these 共Digby, step to determine the empirical coefficients.

1981; Walton, 1987; Norris and Johnson, 1997; Makse et al., 1999;

Bachrach and Avseth, 2008兲 are based on the Hertz-Mindlin 共HM;

Mindlin, 1949兲 solution for the elastic behavior of two elastic Heuristic models

spheres in contact. The key parameters determining the stiffness of Heuristic models are what we might call pseudotheoretical.Aheu-

the rock are the elastic moduli of the spherical grains and the area of ristic model uses intuitive, though nonrigorous, means to argue why

grain contact, which results from the deformability of the grains un- various parameters should be related in a certain way. The best-

der pressure. Dvorkin and Nur 共1996兲 describe the effect of adding known heuristic rock-physics model is the Wyllie time average, re-

small amounts of mineral cement at the contacts of spherical grains. lating velocity to porosity: 1 / V ⳱ / Vfluid Ⳮ 共1 ⳮ 兲 / Vmineral. At

As with inclusion models, spherical contact models are useful elastic face value, it looks as if there might be some physics involved. How-

analogs of soft sediments, but they suffer from their extremely ideal- ever, the time-average equation is equivalent to a straight-ray, zero-

ized geometries. They are not easy to extend to realistic grain shapes wavelength approximation, which makes no sense when modeling

or distributions of grain size. Furthermore, the most rigorous part of wavelengths that are very long relative to grains and pores. The Wyl-

the contact models is the formal description of a single grain-to- lie equation is sometimes a useful heuristic description of clean, con-

grain contact. To extrapolate this to a random packing of spheres re- solidated, water-saturated rocks, but it is certainly not a theoretically

quires sweeping assumptions about the number of contacts per grain justifiable one.

and the distribution of contact forces throughout the composite. Other very useful heuristic models are the use of the HS upper and

Computational models are a fairly recent phenomenon 共e.g., lower bounds to describe cementing and sorting trends. Certainly the

Bakke and Øren, 1997; Keehm, 2003; Knackstedt et al., 2009兲. In HS curves are rigorous bounds for mixtures of different phases.

these, the actual grain-pore microgeometry is determined by careful However, we use the bounds as interpolators to connect the mineral

thin section or computed-tomography 共CT兲 scan imaging. This ge- moduli at zero porosity, with moduli of well-sorted end members at

ometry is represented by a grid, and the elastic, poroelastic, or vis- critical porosity. We give heuristic arguments justifying why an up-

coelastic behavior is computed using finite-element, finite-differ- per-bound equation might be expected to describe cementing, which

ence, or discrete-element modeling. Clear advantages of these mod- is the stiffest way to add mineral to a sand, and why a lower-bound

els are freedom from geometric idealizations and the ability to elasti- equation might be expected to describe sorting. However, we are un-

cally quantify features observed in thin sections or 3D real rock im- able to derive these bounds from first principles.

ages.

Transformations include models such as the Gassmann 共1951兲 re-

lations for fluid substitution, which are relatively free of geometric Bound-filling models

assumptions. The Gassmann relations take the measured VP and VS

The bound-filling models that follow provide simple equations

at one fluid state and predict the VP and VS at another fluid state. Ber-

for families of curves spanning the range between upper and lower

ryman and Milton 共1991兲 present a geometry-independent scheme

bounds on elastic moduli and can be used to describe the stiffness of

to predict fluid substitution in a composite of two porous media hav-

rocks that fall in the range between upper and lower bounds. The

ing separate mineral and dry-frame moduli. Mavko et al. 共1995兲 de-

modified HS and modified Voigt averages are useful depth-trend

rive a geometry-independent transformation to take hydrostatic ve-

lines for sand and chalk sediments. The bounding-average method

locity versus pressure data and predict stress-induced anisotropy.

共BAM兲 provides a heuristic fluid-substitution strategy that seems to

Mavko and Jizba 共1991兲 present a transformation of measured dry

work best at high frequency 共Marion, 1990兲. The isoframe model al-

velocity versus pressure to predict velocity versus frequency in flu-

lows one to estimate the moduli of rocks composed of a consolidated

id-saturated rocks.

grain framework with inclusions of nonload-bearing grain suspen-

sions. These models are based on isotropic linear elasticity. All of the

bound-filling models discussed here contain at least some heuristic

Empirical models

elements, such as the interpretation of the modified upper bounds.

Empirical models do not require much explanation. Generally, the The VR and HS bounds yield precise limits on the maximum and

approach is to assume some function form and then to determine co- minimum possible values for the effective bulk and shear moduli of

efficients by calibrating a regression to data. Some of the best- an isotropic, linear elastic composite. Specifically, for a mixture of

known models are Han’s 共1986兲 regressions for velocity-porosity- two components the HS bounds can be written as

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75A34 Avseth et al.

冉 冊

KHSⳲ ⳱ K1 Ⳮ ⳮ1 , 共1兲 defined to lie exactly halfway between the Voigt upper and Reuss

4

共K2 ⳮ K1兲ⳮ1 Ⳮ f 1 K1 Ⳮ m lower bounds 共Figure 3兲. A similar estimate can be constructed to lie

3 halfway between the upper and lower HS bounds 共Figure 3兲. These

two estimates have little practical value except when the constituent

HSⳲ ⳱ 1 end members are elastically similar, as with a mixture of minerals

without pore space. In this case, an average of upper and lower

f2 bounds yields a useful estimate of the average mineral moduli.

冉 冉 冊冊

Ⳮ ⳮ1 ,

m 9Km Ⳮ 8m BAM uses the position of porosity/modulus data between the

共2 ⳮ 1兲ⳮ1 Ⳮ f 1 1 Ⳮ bounds as an indication of rock stiffness. In Figure 4, the HS upper

6 Km Ⳮ 2m and lower bounds are displayed for mixtures of mineral and water.

共2兲 The data point A lies a distance d above the lower bound; D is the

spacing between the bounds at the same porosity. In BAM, it is as-

where subscripts 1 and 2 refer to properties of the two components sumed that the ratio d / D remains constant if the pore fluid in the rock

having bulk moduli K1 and K2, shear moduli 1 and 2, and volume is changed, without changing the pore geometry or the stiffness of

fractions f 1 and f 2. Most commonly, these bounds are applied to de- the dry frame. Though not theoretically justified, BAM sometimes

scribe mixtures of mineral and pore fluid, as illustrated in Figure 2. gives a reasonable estimate of high-frequency fluid-substitution be-

Equations 1 and 2 yield the upper bound when Km and m are the havior.

maximum bulk and shear moduli of the individual constituents and

the lower bound when Km and m are the minimum bulk and shear

moduli of the constituents. The maximum 共minimum兲 shear modu- 40

lus might come from a different constituent than the maximum 共min-

imum兲 bulk modulus. For example, this would be the case for a mix- 35 Hashin-Shtrikman

upper bound

ture of calcite 共K ⳱ 71; ⳱ 30 GPa兲 and quartz 共K ⳱ 37; 30

⳱ 45 GPa兲. Bulk modulus (GPa)

Hashin-Shtrikman average

with modified bounds, the constituent end members are selected dif-

20 Voigt-Reuss-Hill

ferently, such as a mineral mixed with a fluid-solid suspension 共Fig-

ure 2兲 or a stiffly packed sediment mixed with a fluid-solid suspen- 15

sion. The critical-porosity model 共Nur et al., 1991, 1995兲 identifies a

critical porosity c that separates load-bearing sediments at porosi- 10

ties ⬍ c and suspensions at porosities ⬎ c. Modified HS 共or 5 Hashin-Shtrikman

VR兲 equations can be constructed to describe mixtures of mineral lower bound

and the unconsolidated fluid-solid suspension at critical porosity. 0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Different values of c produce a family of curves between the upper Porosity

and lower bounds. The modified upper HS curve has been observed

empirically to be a useful trend line describing, for example, how the Figure 3. Hashin-Shtrikman and Voigt-Reuss bounds for bulk modu-

elastic moduli of clean sandstones evolve from deposition through lus in a quartz-water system. The Voigt-Reuss-Hill curve is an aver-

compaction and cementation 共Gal et al., 1998兲. The modified upper age of the Voigt upper and Reuss lower bounds. The Hashin-Shtrik-

HS curve, constructed as such, is not a rigorous bound on the elastic man average curve is an average of the Hashin-Shtrikman upper and

lower bounds.

properties of clean sand, although sandstone moduli are almost al-

ways observed to lie on or below it.

40

40

35 Hashin-Shtrikman

35 upper bound

30

Hashin-Shtrikman

Bulk modulus (GPa)

30 upper bound

Bulk modulus (GPa)

25

25

20

20 A

15 D

15 d

10

Modified upper

10 Hashin-Shtrikman

bound 5 Hashin-Shtrikman

5 Hashin-Shtrikman lower bound

lower bound Critical porosity 0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 Porosity

Porosity

Figure 4. The bounding average method. The position of a data point

Figure 2. Hashin-Shtrikman and modified Hashin-Shtrikman A, described as d / D relative to bounds, is assumed to be a measure of

bounds for bulk modulus in a quartz-water system. the pore stiffness.

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Rock physics analysis of siliciclastics 75A35

Fabricius 共2003兲 has introduced the isoframe model to describe All of the bound-filling models provided here contain at least

behavior between the modified upper and lower HS bounds. In this some heuristic elements, such as the interpretation of the modified

model, the modified upper HS curve is assumed to describe the trend upper bounds. The different families of curves are parameterized by

of sediments that become progressively more compacted and ce- different quantities with different physical interpretation, e.g., criti-

mented as they trend away from the lower Reuss average 共Figure 5兲 cal porosity c, the fraction of load-bearing frame IF, or the pore-

— an empirical result. It is assumed that these rocks contain only space stiffness K . Though somewhat heuristic, these models pro-

grains that are load bearing. Sediments that fall below the modified vide a simple and practical way to model a wide range of velocity-

upper bound are assumed to contain inclusions of grain-fluid sus- porosity trends.

pensions, in which the grains are not load bearing. A family of curves

can be generated 共Figure 5兲, computed as an upper HS mix of frame, Our hybrid approach

taken from the modified upper bound, and suspension, taken from

the lower Reuss bound. IF is the volume fraction of load-bearing We have found a hybrid combination of theoretical, empirical,

frame, and 1 — IF is the fraction of suspension. The isoframe modu- and heuristic models very useful to describe the rock-physics prop-

lus at each porosity is computed from the frame and suspension erties of high-porosity clastic sediments. In this sense, we find our-

moduli at the same porosity. The calculation is done separately for selves thinking more as engineers than physicists — the models that

bulk and shear moduli, from which the P-wave modulus can be cal- work best in practice, for prediction and interpretation purposes,

culated. may not be the models founded on the most advanced physical theo-

The bulk modulus K of an elastic porous medium can be ex- ries.

pressed as It started with Han’s 共1986兲 empirical discovery that the relation-

ship between velocity and porosity in shaly sands could be well de-

1 1 scribed by a set of parallel contours of constant clay. Amos Nur

⳱ Ⳮ , 共3兲 共1992兲 notes that each of these contours have high- and low-porosity

K Kmin K̃

intercepts with a clear physical interpretation: in the limit of zero po-

where Kmin is the mineral bulk modulus and K̃ is the saturated pore rosity, any model should rigorously take on the properties of pure

space stiffness, given by mineral; and in the limit of high porosity 共the critical porosity兲, we

have a suspension that is rigorously modeled with a lower-bound

KminKfluid equation. Eventually, Han’s contours have been replaced by modi-

K̃ ⳱ K Ⳮ 共4兲 fied upper bounds, partly because they fit the data better over a large

Kmin Ⳮ Kfluid

range of porosities and partly because we could defend them heuris-

共Mavko et al., 2009兲, where Kfluid is the bulk modulus of the pore flu- tically. We have come to understand that these modified upper

id and K is the dry rock pore-space stiffness defined in terms of the bounds describe the diagenetic or cementation trend for sedimentary

pore volume v and confining stress c: rocks.

A modified lower bound is an excellent description of the veloci-

1 1 v

⳱ . 共5兲 ty-porosity sorting trend. Again, this is more of an empirical obser-

K v c vation, aesthetically symmetric to the modified upper bound but not

rigorously defendable. Dvorkin and Nur 共1996兲 introduces the fria-

Figure 6 shows a plot of bulk modulus versus porosity with con-

ble-sand model, which uses a theoretical elastic contact model to de-

tours of constant K . A large K indicates a stiff pore space, and a

scribe clean, well-sorted sands combined with a modified lower

small K indicates a soft pore space. The value K ⳱ 0 corresponds

bound to interpolate these to lower-porosity, poorly sorted sands.

to a suspension.

In summary, we have found the rock-physics modeling approach

presented in this paper to be useful in high-porosity sand-shale envi-

100

ronments. We avoid overmodeling with too much theory that de-

Modified upper

Hashin-Shtrikman 1.0

P-wave modulus (GPa)

80

0.9 Hashin-Shtrikman

upper bound

0.8

60 IF = 1

0.7

0.8

0.6 0.4

40

K/K min

0.6

0.4 Critical 0.5

0.2 porosity 0.3

20 0.4

0.3 0.2

Reuss

0 0.2

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 K phi/K min = 0.1

Porosity 0.1 Reuss

0.0

Figure 5. The isoframe model. The modified upper Hashin-Shtrik- 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

man curve is assumed to describe a strong frame of grains in good Porosity (volume fraction)

contact. The Reuss average curve describes a suspension of grains in

fluid. Each isoframe curve is a Hashin-Shtrikman mix of a fraction Figure 6. Normalized bulk modulus versus pressure, showing con-

IF of frame with 共1 ⳮ IF兲 of suspension. tours of constant K .

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75A36 Avseth et al.

pends on model parameters which follow from mathematical conge- The rock-physics diagnostics technique was introduced by Dvor-

niality rather than from geologic processes. We have also found it kin and Nur 共1996兲 as a means to infer rock microstructure from ve-

disadvantageous to become attached to meticulously derived theo- locity-porosity relations. This diagnostic is conducted by adjusting

retical models that can never approach the complexity of nature. At an effective-medium theoretical model curve to a trend in the data,

the same time, we like to honor physical principles because they assuming that the microstructure of the sediment matches that used

make the models universal. As time goes on, it almost seems that we in the model. We review three heuristic hybrid models that have been

throw away more equations and replace them with clever uses of var- used to describe the velocity-porosity-pressure behavior of medium

ious bounds. Another important driver in our approach is the desire — to high-porosity sediments and rocks: 共1兲 the friable-sand model,

to discover, understand, and quantify elastic properties as a function 共2兲 the contact-cement model, and 共3兲 the constant-cement model.

of geologic processes. Although not proving this heuristic approach A very effective approach is to begin by defining the elastic prop-

is correct, the supporting argument for the approach is that the effec- erties of the end members. At zero porosity, the rock must have the

tive medium path chosen from geologic concepts does not violate properties of mineral. At the high-porosity limit, the elastic proper-

the physics of the mixture. An important principle states that if a ties are determined by elastic-contact theory. Then, we interpolate

model falls within elastic bounds, it is realizable 共Norris, 1985兲. between these two end members using upper or lower HS bounds.

The upper bound explains the theoretical stiffest way to mix load-

BRIEF “LIFE STORY” OF bearing grains and pore-filling material, and the lower bound ex-

plains the theoretical softest way to mix these. Hence, we have found

A CLASTIC SEDIMENT

that the upper bound is a good representation of contact cement,

Elastic bounds provide a framework for understanding the acous- whereas the lower bound accurately describes the effect of sorting.

tic properties of sediments. Figure 1 shows P-wave velocity versus Rocks with very little contact cement 共a few percent兲 are not well de-

porosity for a variety of water-saturated sediments, ranging from scribed by the HS upper bound because there is a large stiffening ef-

ocean-bottom suspensions to consolidated sandstones. The Voigt fect during the very initial porosity reduction as cement fills in the

and Reuss bounds, computed for mixtures of quartz and water, are microcracks between the contacts. Then it is dangerous to interpo-

shown for comparison. 共Strictly speaking, the bounds describe the late between the high-porosity and zero-porosity end members. We

allowable range for elastic moduli. When the corresponding P- and therefore include a high-porosity contact-cement model that takes

S-wave velocities are derived from these moduli, it is common to re- into account the initial cementation effect.

fer to them as the upper and lower bounds on velocity.兲

Before deposition, sediments exist as particles suspended in water

The friable-sand model

共or air兲. As such, their acoustic properties must fall on the Reuss av-

erage of mineral mixed with fluids. When the sediments are first de- Dvorkin and Nur 共1996兲 introduce two theoretical models for

posited on the water bottom, we expect their properties to still lie on high-porosity sands. The friable-sand model, or the unconsolidated

共or near兲 the Reuss average as long as they are weak and unconsoli- line, describes how the velocity-porosity relation changes as the

dated. Their porosity position along the Reuss average is determined sorting deteriorates. The well-sorted end member is represented as a

by the geometry of the particle packing. Clean, well-sorted sands well-sorted packing of similar grains whose elastic properties are de-

will be deposited with porosities near 40%. Poorly sorted sands will termined by the elasticity at the grain contacts. The well-sorted end

be deposited along the Reuss average at lower porosities. Chalks member typically has a critical porosity around 40%. The friable-

will be deposited at high initial porosities, 55%–65%. We some- sand model represents poorly sorted sands as the well-sorted end

times call this porosity of the newly deposited sediment the critical member modified with additional smaller grains deposited in the

porosity 共Nur, 1992兲. Upon burial, the various processes that give the pore space. These additional grains deteriorate sorting, decrease po-

sediment stiffness and strength — effective stress, compaction, and rosity, and only slightly increase rock stiffness 共Figure 7兲.

cementing — must move the sediments off of the Reuss bound. With The elastic moduli of the dry, well-sorted end member at critical

increasing diagenesis, the rock properties fall along steep trajecto- porosity are modeled as an elastic sphere pack subject to confining

ries that extend upward from the Reuss bound at critical porosity and

toward the mineral end point at zero porosity. We see below that

these diagenetic trends can be described once again using the

bounds.

Elastic modulus

MICROSTRUCTURE IN HIGH-POROSITY

SANDSTONES

If we want to predict the seismic velocities of a rock, knowing

only the porosity, mineralogic composition, and the elastic moduli of

the mineral constituents, we can at best predict the upper and lower

0.30 0.35 0.40

bounds of seismic velocities. However, if we know the geometric de-

Porosity

tails of how the mineral grains and pores are arranged relative to

each other, we can predict more exact seismic properties. Several

Figure 7. Schematic of the friable-sand model and corresponding

models account for the microstructure and texture of rocks, and sedimentologic variation. Elastic modulus increases slightly with

these in principle allow us to go the other way: to predict the type of deteriorating sorting and associated increasing amount of pore-fill-

rock and microstructure from seismic velocities. ing material.

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Rock physics analysis of siliciclastics 75A37

冤 冥

ⳮ1

pressure. These moduli are given by the HM theory as

1ⳮ

18 2共1 ⳮ 兲2

P 册 1/3

, 共6兲

dry ⳱

c

HM Ⳮ z

Ⳮ

c

Ⳮz

ⳮ z, 共12兲

where

HM ⳱ 冋

5 ⳮ 4 3n 共1 ⳮ c兲

2

5共2 ⳮ 兲 2 2共1 ⳮ 兲2

P

2 2

册 1/3

, 共7兲 z⳱ 冉

HM 9KHM Ⳮ 8HM

6 KHM Ⳮ 2HM

. 冊 共13兲

where KHM and GHM are the dry-rock bulk and shear moduli, respec- The saturated elastic moduli Ksat and sat can be calculated from Gas-

tively, at c 共i.e., depositional porosity兲; P is the effective pressure smann’s equations. Density is given by

共i.e., the difference between the confining pressure and the pore pres-

sure兲; and are the shear modulus and Poisson’s ratio of the solid b ⳱ fluid Ⳮ 共1 ⳮ 兲 min, 共14兲

phase; and n is the coordination number 共the average number of con- where min is the mineral density, which equals 2.65 g / cm3 for

tacts per grain兲. quartz, and fluid is the fluid density, normally varying from

Poisson’s ratio can be expressed in terms of the bulk K and shear 1.0 to 1.15 g / cm3 for saline water. For dry rocks, the fluid density is

moduli as follows: zero.

Some of the largest uncertainties with the friable-sand model are

3K ⳮ 2 associated with heterogeneous grain contacts, tangential slip, and

⳱ . 共8兲

2共3K Ⳮ 兲 highly variable coordination number. Several workers demonstrate

how the high-porosity end member can be calibrated to a given data

Assuming hydrostatic pressure, effective pressure versus depth is set by adjusting a slip factor 共e.g., Bachrach and Avseth, 2008; Faust

obtained with the following formula: Andersen and Johansen, 2010兲 or by changing n 共e.g., Florez, 2005;

Dutta et al., 2010兲. Florez 共2005兲 finds that because of the uncertain-

Z

冕

ty in n and the limitations of using an idealized packing model, the

P⳱g 共 b ⳮ fl兲dz, 共9兲 modified HS lower bound 共i.e., the friable-sand model兲 may over-

predict the velocity increase because of deteriorating sorting. Grain

0 packing, which texturally can look very similar to the effect of sort-

ing but is caused by postdepositional mechanical compaction, often

where g is the gravity constant and where b and fluid are the bulk

follows a depositional sorting trend in a velocity-porosity crossplot.

density and fluid density, respectively, at a given depth z.

Florez 共2005兲 finds, however, that packing often yields a slightly

The coordination number n depends on porosity, as shown by

steeper slope than the one predicted from the friable-sand model. He

Murphy 共1982兲. The relationship between coordination number and

argues that the combination of packing and sorting could explain the

porosity can be approximated by the following empirical equation:

good match between the friable-sand model and data of sands with

increasing pore-filling material often observed in real in situ well-

n ⳱ 20ⳮ 34 Ⳮ 14 2 . 共10兲 log measurements.

Hence, for a porosity of 0.4, n ⳱ 8.6.

The other end point in the friable-sand model is at zero porosity The contact-cement model

and has the bulk K and shear moduli of the mineral. Moduli of the

poorly sorted sands with porosities between zero and c are interpo- During burial, sands are likely to become cemented sandstones.

lated between the mineral point and the well-sorted end member us- This cement may be diagenetic quartz, calcite, albite, or other miner-

ing the lower HS bound. One heuristic argument for this is that add- als. Cementation has a more rigid stiffening effect because grain

ing small grains passively in the pore space is the softest way to add contacts are “glued” together. The contact-cement model assumes

mineral to the well-sorted sands; the lower-bound equation is always that porosity reduces from the initial porosity of a sand pack as a re-

the softest way to mix two phases. Another argument follows from sult of the uniform deposition of cement layers on the surface of the

Figure 7. Here, we envision the poorly sorted sand as a few large grains 共Figure 8兲. The contact cement dramatically increases the

grains enveloped by soft “shells” of fine-grained sand. This is the re- stiffness of the sand by reinforcing the grain contacts. In particular,

alization of a lower HS bound. the initial cementation effect will cause a large velocity increase with

At porosity , the concentration of the pure solid phase 共added to only a small decrease of porosity.

the sphere pack to decrease porosity兲 in the rock is 1 ⳮ / c, and The mathematical model is based on a rigorous contact-problem

that of the original sphere-pack phase is / c. Then the bulk Kdry solution by Dvorkin et al. 共1994兲. In this model, Kdry and Gdry of dry

and shear Gdry moduli of the dry friable-sand mixture are rock are

冤 冥

ⳮ1

Kdry ⳱ , 共15兲

1ⳮ 6

c c 4

Kdry ⳱ Ⳮ ⳮ HM, and

4 4 3

KHM Ⳮ HM K Ⳮ HM

3 3 3Kdry 3n共1 ⳮ c兲cS

dry ⳱ Ⳮ , 共16兲

共11兲 5 20

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75A38 Avseth et al.

冤 冥

where c is critical porosity; Ks and s are the bulk and shear moduli 2 0.5

of the grain material, respectively; Kc and c are the bulk and shear 共 c ⳮ 兲

3

moduli of the cement material, respectively; M c ⳱ Kc Ⳮ 4c / 3 is the ␣⳱ , 共27兲

compressional modulus of the cement; and n is the coordination 1 ⳮ c

冉 冊

number, defined as average number of contacts per grain. Parame-

ters Sn and S are porportional to the normal and tangential stiff- Kc 2

nesses, respectively. Statistical approximations of the rigorous ce- ⳮ

c 3

冉 冊

mentation theory solutions 共Dvorkin et al., 1994兲 are given by the c ⳱ 0.5 , 共28兲

following equations 共Dvorkin and Nur, 1996兲: Kc 1

Ⳮ

c 3

Sn ⳱ An共⌳n兲␣ 2 Ⳮ Bn共⌳n兲␣ Ⳮ Cn共⌳n兲, 共17兲

Ks 2

ⳮ

s 3

冊

冉 冊

s ⳱ 0.5 . 共29兲

Ks 1

Bn共⌳n兲 ⳱ 0.20405⌳n ⳮ0.89008

, 共19兲 Ⳮ

s 3

Cn共⌳n兲 ⳱ 0.00024649⌳nⳮ1.9864 . 共20兲 A detailed explanation of equations 17–29 and their derivation is

given in Dvorkin et al. 共1994兲. Saturated elastic moduli are calculat-

ed using Gassmann’s equations. Dry and saturated bulk densities are

S ⳱ A 共⌳ , s兲␣ 2 Ⳮ B 共⌳ , s兲␣ Ⳮ C 共⌳ , s兲, calculated using equation 14.

共21兲 The main shortcoming with the Dvorkin-Nur contact-cement

model is that is does not include pressure sensitivity. It is assumed

that the cemented grain contacts immediately lose pressure sensitiv-

A 共⌳ , s兲 ⳱ ⳮ 10ⳮ2共2.26 s2 Ⳮ 2.07 s ity as the cementation process begins. From in situ observations, we

2 know that cemented reservoirs can have significant pressure sensi-

Ⳮ 2.3兲⌳ 0.079 s Ⳮ0.1754 sⳮ1.342

, 共22兲 tivity 共e.g., Duffaut and Landrø, 2007; Avseth et al., 2009a; Vernik

and Hamman, 2009兲. This could be related to fractures not captured

B 共⌳ , s兲 ⳱ 共0.0573 s2 Ⳮ 0.0937 s by the microstructural-scale model or by a patchy cementation

where some grain contacts are cemented and others are loose.

2

Ⳮ 0.202兲⌳ 0.0274 s Ⳮ0.0529 sⳮ0.8765

, 共23兲 Hence, the loose contacts should still be pressure sensitive. As with

the HM contact theory for loose granular media, the Dvorkin-Nur

contact-cement model often overpredicts shear stiffnesses in ce-

C 共⌳ , s兲 ⳱ 10ⳮ4共9.654 s2 Ⳮ 4.945 s mented sandstones. This could be related to a heterogeneous mixture

2 of grain contacts and tangential slip at loose contacts 共Avseth et al.,

Ⳮ 3.1兲⌳ 0.01867 s Ⳮ0.4011 sⳮ1.8186

, 共24兲 2009a兲 or to relative roll and torsion not taken into account in the

contact theory 共e.g., Elata and Berrymann, 1996兲. Furthermore, a

2c共1 ⳮ s兲共1 ⳮ c兲 steep slope in velocity-porosity crossplots may indicate elastic de-

⌳n ⳱ , 共25兲 formation, pressure solution at grain contacts, or grain interpenetra-

s共1 ⳮ 2 c兲

tion without associated cementation 共Florez and Mavko, 2004兲.

⌳ ⳱ , 共26兲

s The constant-cement model, introduced by Avseth et al. 共2000兲,

assumes that sands of varied sorting 共and therefore varied porosity兲

all have the same amount of contact cement. Porosity reduction is

solely from noncontact pore-filling material 共e.g., deteriorating sort-

ing兲. Mathematically, this model is a combination of the contact-ce-

Elastic modulus

ment model, where porosity reduces from the initial sand-pack po-

rosity to porosity b as a result of contact-cement deposition and

from the friable-sand model where porosity reduces from b as a re-

sult of the deposition of the solid phase away from the grain contacts

共Figure 9兲. Considering a given reservoir, this is the most likely sce-

nario because the amount of cement is often related to depth, where-

as sorting is related to lateral variations in flow energy during sedi-

ment deposition. In these cases, we can refer to this as a constant-

0.30 0.35 0.40

depth model for clean sands. However, it is possible that cement can

Porosity (volume fraction)

have a local source and therefore cause a considerable lateral varia-

Figure 8. Schematic of the contact-cement model and the corre- tion in velocity.

sponding diagenetic transformation. Elastic modulus increases To use the constant-cement model, we must first adjust the well-

markedly with increasing amount of contact cement. sorted end-member porosity b that corresponds to the point shown

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Rock physics analysis of siliciclastics 75A39

as an open circle in Figure 9. The dry-rock bulk and shear moduli at Sea. In this case, the rock-physics diagnostics are performed in the

this porosity 共Kb and b, respectively兲 are calculated from the con- VS-versus-porosity domain to avoid significant pore-fluid effects.

tact-cement model. Equations for the dry-rock bulk Kdry and shear The cement volume is estimated by interpolating between the con-

dry moduli at a smaller porosity are then interpolated with a lower stant-cement volume trends, whereas the sorting is defined by the

bound: observed porosity normalized by the high-end-member porosity

冤 冥

ⳮ1 along the given constant-cement trend — the porosity connecting

the constant-cement model with the contact-cement model.

1ⳮ

b b 4 Having estimated cement volume and sorting, we can plot the data

Kdry ⳱ Ⳮ ⳮ b 共30兲 as logs and compare them with other petrophysical logs. Figure 11

4 4 3

Kb Ⳮ b K Ⳮ b shows the resulting estimate of cement volume and sorting. Figure

3 3 11b shows cement volume as magnitude and sorting as superim-

and posed color. For the studied North Sea sandstone interval starting at

around 2 km depth, we observe a clear depth trend in the cement vol-

冤 冥

ⳮ1

ume. The sorting, however, shows a more erratic pattern without a

1ⳮ

b b depth trend, which is expected because sorting is associated with

dry ⳱ Ⳮ ⳮ z, 共31兲 depositional trends.

b Ⳮ z Ⳮz It is essential to verify the presence of initial cementation predict-

where ed from the rock-physics relations with thin-section observations.

冉 冊

Figure 12 shows a thin section from the relatively clean sands in this

b 9Kb Ⳮ 8b study; at first glance, the sandstone looks unconsolidated, with

z⳱ . 共32兲

6 Kb Ⳮ 2b

a)

The effect of pore fluid can be accounted for by using Gassmann’s 4500 10

共1951兲 equations. Dry and saturated bulk densities are calculated us- 4000

Quartz 9

ing equation 14. Regarding input mineral properties, tables of stan- 8

dard properties of minerals are available in many handbooks and 3500

Constant-cement

7

compilations, such as Ellis et al. 共1988兲, Carmichael 共1989兲, and 3000

trends

6

Mavko et al. 共2009兲. Note that it is possible to arrive at the constant- Increasing cement volume

VS (m/s)

2500 5

cement line by first moving along the friable-sand line and then add-

ing contact cement to the rock 共dashed line in Figure 9兲, which is 2000

Dvorkin-Nur

4

contact cement

consistent with diagenesis following deposition. The pitfalls and 3

1500

limitations mentioned for the friable-sand and the contact-cement

2

models also apply for the constant-cement model. 1000

1

500 Shale

0

ROCK-PHYSICS ESTIMATION OF CEMENT

0 –1

VOLUME AND SORTING — A NORTH 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45

SEA DEMONSTRATION Porosity (volume fraction)

4500 1.0

velocity-porosity data. With good local validation of the models, we

can even quantify the degree of sorting and cement volume from 4000 Quartz 0.9

0.8

how this procedure is done for some well-log data from the North Sorting = φ /φ c 0.7

3000

0.6

VS (m/s)

Sorting

Constant Contact 2500

cement cement 0.5

2000

0.4

Elastic modulus

1500

0.3

1000 0.2

500 Shale 0.1

Initial 0 0.0

Friable sand 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45

pack

Porosity (volume fraction)

0.30 0.35 0.40

Porosity (volume fraction) Figure 10. Shear-wave velocity-log data versus total porosity and

superimposed diagnostic rock-physics models. Using the models,

Figure 9. Schematic of three effective-medium models for high-po- we can quantify 共a兲 the cement volume and 共b兲 the degree of sorting.

rosity sands in the elastic-modulus/porosity plane and correspond- Green data points are shale data with high GR values and for practi-

ing microstructure characteristics. The elastic modulus may be com- cal reasons are given the value ⳮ1 in cement volume and zero in

pressional, bulk, or shear. sorting.

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75A40 Avseth et al.

1200 1200 1200 10 ed. A closer investigation, however, reveals the

1.1

9 presence of initial quartz overgrowth covering

1400 1400 1.0 1400 original grain surfaces indicated by dust rims 共ar-

8

0.9 rows, Figure 12兲. This observation confirms what

1600 1600 1600 7 we see in the rock-physics crossplots of the well-

0.8

6 log data. It is interesting that the well-log data

1800 1800 1800

0.7 with tens-of-centimeter resolution reflects what

Depth (m)

5

2000 2000 0.6 2000 we observe at the microscale. Furthermore,

0.5

4 Avseth et al. 共2009b兲 find a very good match be-

2200 2200 2200 3 tween the rock-physics estimated cement volume

0.4

and the total cement estimated from thin sections.

2400 2400 2

0.3 2400

0.2 1

2600 2600 2600 ROCK PHYSICS OF SHALES

0.1 0

2800 2800 2800 Until recently, shales have often been regarded

–1

0 0.5 1 0 5 10 0 0.5 1

as a unique type of lithology among geophysi-

(%)

Shale volume Cement volume (%) Sorting

cists, and minor attention has been given to the

great variance in mineralogy, texture, and porosi-

Figure 11. Estimated cement volume and sorting versus depth for a North Sea well. Note

the onset of cement starting at around 2000 m depth 共corresponding to 70° C兲 and 共b兲 the ty of shales during seismic data analysis. This is

increasing cement volume with depth. In spite of this depth trend, there is variability in partly because the rock properties of clay miner-

cement volume that is likely associated with varying shaliness in the sandstones. Sorting, als are difficult to measure in the laboratory but

however, shows a more erratic pattern with no depth trend 关color in 共b兲兴. 共a兲 Shale volume also because the oil industry has given little prior-

versus depth; 共b兲 cement volume versus depth 共dots兲 and sorting versus depth 共color兲; 共c兲 ity to acquiring detailed log data and core samples

sorting versus depth 共dots兲 and cement volume versus depth 共color兲.

in shale sequences. Geologists, however, have

documented the complexity of shales, and there

exists a vast amount of published literature on their geochemistry

a)

and sedimentology 共e.g., Bjørlykke, 1998; MacQuaker et al., 2007;

Peltonen et al., 2008兲. With increased focus on cross-disciplinary in-

tegration, geophysicists are starting to incorporate this geologic

knowledge into modeling and analyzing geophysical data 共e.g.,

Dræge et al., 2006b; Brevik et al., 2007; Mondol et al., 2007; Mar-

cussen et al., 2008兲.

As with sands, we can distinguish between depositional and di-

agenetic trends in shales. Depositional trends will affect clay miner-

alogy; but in particular, the silt content will have great impact on the

seismic properties. Avseth et al. 共2005兲 use a simple isotropic lower

Reuss bound to model vertical velocities of silty shales. However,

shales have a different composition and texture than sandstones.

Therefore, the rock-physics models applicable for sandstones do not

necessarily apply for shales. More rigorous anisotropic modeling of

b) shales has been performed by Hornby et al. 共1994兲, Johansen et al.

共2002兲, Ruud et al. 共2003兲, and Dræge et al. 共2006b兲, among others.

In this paper, we use the shale compaction model 共Dræge et al.,

2006b; Ruud et al., 2003兲 to estimate the anisotropic effective prop-

erties in mechanically compacted shales. More details about this

model are included in the next section and in Avseth et al. 共2008兲.

Quartz cement

Rock-physics depth trends for sands and shales can be used to

study the expected seismic signatures of sand-shale interfaces as a

function of depth. We use existing empirical porosity-depth trends

Figure 12. Thin sections from Heimdal Formation sands. 共a兲Aloose- for sands and shales as input to rock-physics models of VP, VS, and

ly packed, poorly consolidated sand. 共b兲Analysis of a zoomed-in im- density. We can, for example, use HM theory to calculate the veloci-

age 共partially from the red boxed area in 关a兴兲 confirms the presence of ty-depth trends for unconsolidated sands and shales, whereas Dvor-

quartz overgrowths and contact cement. On detrital quartz grains,

we observe dust rims representing the original grain surfaces that kin and Nur’s 共1996兲 contact-cement model can be used for cement-

have been covered by quartz cement 共arrows兲. Feldspar overgrowth ed sands. The depth trends allow us to study the ability to discrimi-

and calcite cement also occur, yet quartz cement is dominating. nate between pore fluids and lithologies at different depths.

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Rock physics analysis of siliciclastics 75A41

Figure 13 is a schematic representation of shale and sand compac- tion 共SCA兲 are used to account for the elongated pores and grains in

tion curves and a sequence of interbedded turbidite sands and marine shales 共Hornby et al., 1994兲. In this study, pores in chemically com-

shales, typical for the North Sea deep-marine environment of Tertia- pacted shales are considered to be isolated, but the pores in the me-

ry age. The depositional porosity in shales is normally much higher chanical compaction regime are connected 共c.f., Dræge et al.,

共60%–80%兲 than in sands 共⬃40%兲, but we expect a shallow cross- 2006b兲. We define a transition zone, where the properties change

over with depth as a result of the mechanical collapse of the shales. from the mechanical to the chemical regime.

The platy clay fabric in the shales is more prone to compaction than In Figure 15, the initial shale 共 ⬍ 1500 m兲 is considered to be

the assemblage of spherically shaped grains in sands and hence the smectite rich, and the deeper 共⬎2200 m兲 illite-rich shale is some-

more rapid mechanical porosity reduction in shales than sands. Dur- what stiffer. The vertical mineral bulk and shear moduli of smectite

ing burial to approximately 2 km depth, sands and shales are ex- are found by calibration to well-log data to be 12.5 and 7.5 GPa, re-

posed mainly to mechanical compaction. The marine shales in the spectively. For illite, these elastic moduli are 21 and 7 GPa, respec-

Tertiary North Sea are very smectite rich, and they have very low tively. The assumption of isotropic mineral moduli for the clay min-

permeability. In thick, smectite-rich shale masses, it is therefore nor- erals is probably incorrect, but the assumption may be realistic for

mal to observe undercompaction and associated overpressure even assemblages of clay crystals that are randomly scattered and mixed

at several hundred meters’ burial depth. At about 70° C, however, with larger silt particles of quartz. In the modeling, we assume rela-

chemical alteration of smectite will begin, and we expect a mineral tively pure shales with 7% quartz. For quartz, the mineral moduli are

transformation to illite. This is a typical mineral transformation seen 37 and 44 GPa, respectively. We assume clay density to be the same

in marine shales all over the world 共Bjørlykke, 1998兲. Bound water as for quartz, 2.65 g / cm3.

in the smectite layers is released when the temperature reaches this There are two counteracting effects on anisotropy. The initial

critical temperature, resulting in a porosity decrease. Moreover, the

presence of potassium cations 共e.g., in feldspar or mica兲 causes Deposition

Porosity

quartz to be produced as a by-product. This quartz can precipitate as

microcrystalline quartz within the shale matrix 共Thyberg et al., Pure

compaction

Mechanical

North Sea Paleocene

shale Clean

2009兲; if connectivity allows, the quartz may precipitate as cement sand

in adjacent sandstones 共Peltonen et al., 2008兲.

Volcanic tuff

Figure 14 shows well-log data from a North Sea well penetrating Smectite-rich shale

siliciclastic sediments and rocks of Tertiary age 共same data investi- ~ 70°C

Unc. sand

~ 2 km

compaction

Chemical

Qz

Qz

trends for shales and sandstones. We observe a good match between

the calculated velocity-depth trends for different lithologies and the Smectite + K+ → Illite + SiO2 + H 2O

well-log data. The sandstone rock-physics models as a function of

depth are modeled by combining HM contact theory for unconsoli- Depth of burial

dated sands with the Dvorkin-Nur contact cement model for cement-

ed sandstones. The input porosity-depth trends are calibrated with Figure 13. Schematic of sand and shale compaction. At 70° C, it is

common to observe a change from mechanical compaction to pre-

local compaction trends according to empirical relations 共e.g., dominantly chemical compaction in siliciclastic systems. In deep

Ramm and Bjørlykke, 1994; Mondol et al., 2007兲. The light-blue marine depositional systems, smectite-rich shales experience illiti-

model curves show how the velocities increase drastically for sands zation and release of bound water, causing a porosity reduction and

as we go from the unconsolidated regime with only mechanical com- mineralogy change with depth. For quartz-rich sands, initial cemen-

paction to the cemented regime with predominantly chemical com- tation tends to start at the same depth level. One possible external

source of cement is in fact derived from the smectite-to-illite transi-

paction. The onset of quartz cement happens at tion in embedding shales.

about 70° C, corresponding to about 2 km burial

0

depth.

Seafloor

We apply the shale compaction model 共Ruud et

500

al., 2003; Dræge et al., 2006b兲 to estimate the an-

isotropic effective properties in mechanically Mechanical

1000 compaction

compacted shales. The first seismically important

Depth (m)

1500

tite-to-illite reaction. The reaction has several im-

plications for the shale; the soft smectite is re-

2000 Gas

placed by stiffer illite that might be distributed Chemical

Oil compaction

differently in the rock. The reaction produces wa-

ter, the amount of solids is decreased 共i.e., illite 2500

quartz is generated as a by-product, and porosity 3000

0 0.5 1 2000 3000 4000 1000 2000 3000 2 2.5

is reduced by chemical compaction. When the Vsh Vp (m/s) Vs (m/s) Density (kg/m3)

shales are moving into the chemical compaction

regime, a new set of rock-physics models is ap- Figure 14. Rock-physics depth trends for shales 共blue兲 and sandstones 共cyan兲, juxtaposed

plied to estimate the seismic properties. The an- on North Sea well-log data penetrating a Tertiary sequence of siliciclastic sediments and

isotropic version of a differential effective medi- rocks. A gas zone is indicated in yellow, and an oil zone is in red. The remaining interval

of the Heimdal Formation is brine filled. The Heimdal is embedded in the Lista Forma-

um 共DEM兲 model and self-consistent approxima- tion shale. The leftmost panel shows the shale volume V . sh

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75A42 Avseth et al.

alignment of grains leads to more aligned pores and increasing an- VP, VS, and density, we estimate the Thomsen 共1986兲 parameters of

isotropy. However, decreasing porosity leads to decreasing anisotro- anisotropy, ␦ and , which can be significant for interpreting angle-

py, culminating in the anisotropic properties of the solid material dependent seismic reflectivity 共AVO analysis兲. The estimated Th-

共i.e., mixture of quartz and clay兲 at zero porosity. The pores intro- omsen parameters are within the range of experimental values of

duce higher anisotropy than the solid because pores commonly are mixed clay 共kaolinite and illite兲 and quartz derived by Voltolini et al.

weaker orthogonal to the longest axis, whereas the solids in this case 共2009兲 under a uniaxial effective stress 共no lateral strain allowed兲 of

are less dependent on direction of wave propagation. In addition to 5 and 50 MPa. They show that pure clay can have

P-wave anisotropy exceeding 40%, but the pres-

Delta Epsilon ence of silty quartz particles within a shale will

1200

drastically reduce the anisotropy.

1400 Wang 共2002兲 finds that decreases exponen-

Smectite

rich 1600 tially with increasing porosity, whereas ␦ has a

weak relationship with porosity. The decreasing

1800 ~ 70°C

with burial depth and decreasing porosity that we

Depth (m)

Illite Wang’s observations. This is probably a result of

rich 2200 our assumption of isotropic mineral moduli for

2400 the clays 共i.e., individual clay crystals have strong

anisotropy, yet assemblages of clay crystals can

2600

effectively show lower anisotropy, especially

2800 when mixed with quartz兲 together with the micro-

2000 2500 3000 500 1000 1500 2.2 2.4 2.6 0 0.1 0.2

VP (m/s) VS (m/s) Density (kg/m3) Anisotropy structural representation of chemical compaction

Smectite + K → Illite + Si + H 2 O that we include in modeling the illite-rich shales.

Chemical compaction from precipitation of mi-

crocrystalline quartz in illite-rich shales is report-

Figure 15. Modeled rock-physics depth trends of shales, showing the effect of illitization

of marine smectite-rich shales. ed by Thyberg et al. 共2009兲, and this diagenetic

process may cause stronger vertical bindings be-

tween clay particles and hence reduced P-wave

a) anisotropy with decreasing porosity. It is beyond the scope of this pa-

per to verify our anisotropic modeling results with real anisotropy

Shale

measurements in these type of shales, but future research should in-

deed investigate how different geologic processes in shales affect

VPV S

Sw

Quartz mineral

Oil sand ROCK-PHYSICS TEMPLATES (RPTS)

Acoustic impedance We can combine the depositional and diagenetic trend models

with Gassmann fluid substitution and make charts or templates of

b) rock-physics models for predicting lithology and hydrocarbons. We

refer to these locally constrained charts as rock-physics templates

共RPTs兲, a technology first presented by Ødegaard andAvseth 共2003兲.

Shale Furthermore, we expand on the rock-physics diagnostics as we cre-

VPV S

Oil sand

cementation

versus VP / VS ratios 共Figure 16兲. This will allow us to perform rock-

Brine SS

physics analysis of well-log data and of seismic data 共e.g., elastic in-

Decreasing net to gross version results兲.

Acoustic impedance The RPTs are site 共basin兲 specific and honor local geologic fac-

tors. Geologic constraints on rock-physics models include lithology,

Figure 16. Rock-physics templates 共RPTs兲 can be made from the mineralogy, burial depth, diagenesis, pressure, and temperature. All

rock physics presented in this paper combined with Gassmann’s the- of these factors must be considered when generating RPTs for a giv-

ory to define regions where expected facies and fluids will plot. In en basin. In particular, it is essential to include only the expected

particular, the VP / VS ratio is a great fluid discriminator in siliciclastic lithologies for the area under investigation when generating the

environments. 共a兲 Homogeneous, unconsolidated sands filled with

oil are normally well separated from brine-filled sands in an RPT of RPTs. Water depth and burial depth determine the effective pressure,

VP / VS versus acoustic impedance 共AI兲. However, the effect of initial pore pressure, and lithostatic pressure. The pore pressure is impor-

cement will reduce the fluid sensitivity of sandstones, and the VP / VS tant when calculating fluid properties and determining the effective

ratio of cemented brine sandstones can be similar to the VP / VS ratio stress on the grain contacts of the rock frame carrying the overbur-

of unconsolidated sands filled with oil. The effect of N/G 共i.e., heter- den.

ogeneity兲 normally will move data in the opposite direction in a

VP / VS-AI crossplot. Hence, 共b兲 oil sands with relatively low net-to- Pore-fluid sensitivity in reservoir sandstones is highly affected by

gross can have higher VP / VS than homogeneous brine sands with ini- reservoir heterogeneity and sandstone microstructure, and it is there-

tial cement. fore important to include these geologic factors in the rock-physics

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Rock physics analysis of siliciclastics 75A43

analysis. As indicated, initial cement reduces the pressure and fluid useful parameter for quantifying the heterogeneity of sands is N/G,

sensitivity of sandstones. Figure 16 shows schematically the outline the fraction of clean, permeable sand to the complete reservoir in-

of a rock-physics template, where calibrated rock-physics models cluding reservoir sands and intercalating impermeable shales. We

have been selected that fit local data observations 共well-log data or find N/G to be a useful parameter when we upscale from alternating

seismic inversion data兲 of various lithologies and pore fluids. In a thin beds of different lithologies and/or fluid saturations to an effec-

crossplot of acoustic impedance 共AI兲 versus VP / VS, the presence of tive medium during rock-physics analysis of well-log and seismic

diagenetic quartz cement will move brine-saturated sandstone data data. It is also a parameter with which geologists are very familiar.

to plot in an area of very low VP / VS where we may expect hydrocar- Takahashi 共2000兲 formulates one possible methodology to predict

bon-saturated sandstones to plot. On the contrary, reservoir hetero- sand/shale ratio based on statistical rock-physics simulations of var-

geneity and decreasing net to gross 共N/G兲 associated with interbed- ious bedding scenarios. Vernik et al. 共2002兲 predict N/G from P- and

ded sands and shales tend to move data points in the direction of the S-wave impedance-inversion results. Stovas et al. 共2006兲 use effec-

shale cluster. The cement effect is a microstructural effect, whereas tive medium theory combined with Gassmann theory to predict N/G

N/G is a scale effect. When the interbedded shale is relatively soft

and saturation from AVO attributes. Finally, Connolly and Kemper

compared to the sand, the N/G effect will counteract the effect of ce-

共2007兲 use an integrated and data-driven approach to predict N/G

ment on effective rock stiffness — hence, the opposite directions in

from turbiditic reservoirs in offshore Angola.

the AI-VP / VS crossplot. Figure 16 demonstrates why it is important

We suggest a five-step methodology 共Figure 18兲 to model the

to include and understand these geologic factors when analyzing

rock-physics properties of interbedded sands and shales with differ-

rock-physics properties and seismic-fluid sensitivity in reservoir

ent pore-fluid saturation scenarios, where the first four steps follow

sandstones.

Figure 17 shows an RPT including data from two neighboring the generation of the homogeneous rock-physics models outlined

wells penetrating Paleocene sands in the North Sea. One well pene- above. Step 1 is to estimate dry bulk and shear moduli Kdry and dry at

trates a thick, turbiditic gas sand with a thin oil leg, whereas the adja- critical porosity using HM contact theory. In step 2, we interpolate

cent well penetrates a turbidite sand filled with oil. It turns out that between the high-porosity end member and the zero-porosity miner-

the sandstone quality changes from one well to the other, and this al point, choosing the modified lower or upper HS bound. In step 3,

drastically distorts the fluid sensitivity to hydrocarbons. The gas-sat- we apply Gassmann theory, perform fluid substitution, and estimate

urated top Heimdal sands in well 1 show a small increase in acoustic elastic properties of clean sands with uniform, but we vary saturation

impedance, but the oil-saturated sands in well 2 show a significant of brine Sw and hydrocarbons 共1 ⳮ Sw兲, for all porosities.

drop in acoustic impedance. This drastic change in sandstone quality In step 4, we select a characteristic shale to be interbedded with

over a short distance yields a corresponding change in seismic signa- the clean sand units. We can derive typical shale properties from

tures 共see Avseth et al., 2009b兲. well-log data in an area of study, or we can use rock-physics model-

ing. We assume that the shale will be completely impermeable to hy-

drocarbons and that the shale layers will only be saturated with brine

ROCK-PHYSICS MODELING AND UPSCALING

trapped during deposition. It is reasonable to assume that the porosi-

OF SAND-SHALE SEQUENCES

ty of thin-bedded shales at a given depth will be fairly constant, in

As we move from developing thick, hydrocarbon-filled layers to

Step 1: Hertz-Mindlin dry sandstone Step 3: Gassmann fluid sub.

thinner interbedded and laterally discontinuous sequences, we need

to focus on hydrocarbon prediction in heterogeneous reservoirs. One K dry K sat

3.0

K dry = f (Peff)

Contact-cement model

φc φc

2.5 I

Step 2: Hashin-Shtrikman interpolation Steps 4 and 5: Pick a shale

VPV S

Sha

2.0 V le m

ode

l

II

Brine SS

III model (2%

cement) φsh φc

IV φc

1.5 Gas sand model

4 6 8 10 12

Acoustic impedance Figure 18. Work flow for hybrid rock-physics modeling and Backus-

(km/s∗g/cm3) average upscaling of sandstone interbedded with shale. The dry

sandstone is modeled by combining Hertz-Mindlin contact theory

Figure 17. Rock-physics template of VP / VS versus acoustic imped- and Hashin-Shtrikman interpolation 共steps 1 and 2兲. Gassmann fluid

ance 共AI兲 for target zone 共Paleocene兲 of two North Sea wells. Cluster substitution is done to estimate the effect of varying gas versus water

I is the cap-rock shale in both wells; II comprises the brine sand- saturation in the sand layers 共step 3兲. We assume a characteristic

stones in both wells; III and IV are reservoir sandstones in well 1 shale with constant porosity 共step 4兲 to be interbedded with the sands

filled with oil and gas, respectively; and V is the upper oil zone in and use the Backus average 共step 5兲 to estimate effective properties

well 2, with VP / VS higher than the brine sandstones and AI lower for varying N/G ratios. The dashed red arrows in the last subplot in-

than the gas sandstones in well 1. This is counterintuitive and must dicate that the characteristic shale with constant porosity is interbed-

be explained by difference in sandstone quality 共see Figure 16兲. Blue ded with sandstone layers with varying porosity and varying satura-

is shale, cyan is brine sand, yellow is gas sand, and red is oil sand. tion.

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75A44 Avseth et al.

contrast to the porosity of the thin-bedded sands that are prone to The models for varying N/G are valid for scales such that the layer

vary with sorting. Hence, we assume a constant characteristic poros- thicknesses are much below the resolution of the elastic wave, and

ity for shale sh. typically we apply them when the thicknesses are less than about

In step 5, we apply Backus average effective medium theory 共e.g., 1 / 10 of a wavelength 共Backus, 1962兲. A reservoir sand can plot with

Gelinsky and Shapiro, 1997; Mavko et al., 2009兲 to estimate the ef- N / G ⳱ 1 in well-log data; the same sand can plot with N / G ⬍ 1 in

fective, upscaled anisotropic properties of the interbedded shale- seismic data. Hence, these effective models can be used to determine

sand sequences. This we do for various N/G values, ranging from what happens if we go from well-log scale to seismic scale.

zero to one. The Backus average approximates a stack of alternating The models can also be used to interpret scale effects and N/G val-

thin layers of two isotropic media as one effective anisotropic medi- ues in well-log data if these values happen to be less than one, which

um. This medium is characterized by five independent elastic modu- is often the case in turbidite sequences. The reservoir-sand data in

li according to the transverse isotropic elasticity matrix 共Mavko et the studied well match nicely with the models for high N/G values

al., 2009兲. The various elastic moduli that we need further are found 共0.8–1.0兲, and at first glance it appears that the gas-sand data points

from the velocities, densities, and fractions of the alternating sand fall close to the line for homogeneous 共N / G ⳱ 1兲 sandstone with

and shale layers. Finally, we can derive diagnostic rock-physics 100% gas. In Figure 20, however, we remove the brine-filled and oil-

models for varying N/G. filled sand data, leaving only the gas-saturated sands with the cap-

We apply this five-step rock-physics methodology to interpreting rock shales. Now we clearly observe the gas-saturated sands span a

well-log data from a North Sea reservoir. We create a crossplot of wide range of VP / VS. Some of the gas sands seem to have N/G values

acoustic impedance and VP / VS data from the target zone based on the between 0.8 and 0.6, causing VP / VS close to two — a value more typ-

well-log data in Figure 14. This crossplot is compared to rock-phys- ical of brine-saturated sands. This observation is consistent with a

ics models for various N/G made according to the five-step method- patchy saturation behavior. The heterogeneities of the intercalating

ology. The characteristic shale is picked from the cap-rock shale shales are causing a geologic control on the saturation pattern. Even

above the reservoir. This may be somewhat erroneous because the though the gas saturation is uniform at the scale of the sandstone po-

cap-rock shale is not neccesarily equivalent to the interbedded shale rosity, the propagating sound waves will effectively experience

within the resevoir. In Figure 19, we can see the various models for patchy saturation when the interbedded sand-shale thicknesses are

N/G of 1.0, 0.9, 0.8, and 0.6. For each of these N/G, we include vary- larger than the critical diffusion length yet beneath the resolution of

ing gas saturation within the sand layers. It is interesting to note how the sonic or seismic waves.

the decrease in N/G will cause a drastic increase of VP / VS, regardless

of porosity, even for high gas saturation in the sands. The acoustic LIMITATIONS AND CAVEATS

impedances drop drastically with decreasing N/G when the sands

have low porosities but increase slightly when the sands have high The models for the high-porosity sandstones are based on isotro-

porosity. This is of course because of the relative contrast to the inter- pic linear elasticity. All of the bound-filling models provided here

calating shale. contain some heuristic elements, such as the interpretation of the

modified bounds. The grain-contact models are limited by the fol-

3.2

lowing assumptions: the strains are small; grains are identical, ho-

3.0 mogeneous, isotropic, elastic spheres; packings are assumed to be

2.8 random and statistically isotropic; and the effective elastic constants

2.6 Shale point are relevant for long-wavelength propagation, where wavelengths

are much longer 共more than 10 times兲 compared to the grain radius.

VPV S

2.4

Furthermore, effective medium elastic constants based on grain-

2.2 S w = 100% N/G = 0.6

contact models are derived under the mean-field approximation,

2.0 N/G = 0.8

S w = 10% 3.2

1.8 N/G = 0.9

1.6 3.0

S w = 0% N/G = 1.0

2.8

1.4

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Shale point

2.6

Acoustic impedance

(km/s∗g/cm3)

VPV S

2.4

2.2 S w = 100% N/G = 0.6

Figure 19. Rock-physics template of acoustic impedance versus

VP / VS, including models for varying net-to-gross 共N/G兲 and gas sat- 2.0 N/G = 0.8

uration 共1 ⳮ Sw兲 created by the five-step procedure. The colored 1.8 S w = 10%

N/G = 0.9

model lines represent the clean-sand models without shale interbed-

1.6

ding 共i.e., N / G ⳱ 1.0兲. The cyan line represents clean sands with S w = 0% N/G = 1.0

100% water saturation Sw. Porosity is 40% at the left end point and 1.4

decreases to the right toward the mineral point 共which is outside the 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

range of the plot兲. The dashed orange line is the corresponding 10% Acoustic impedance

3

(km/s∗g/cm )

water saturation and 90% gas saturation, whereas the solid orange

line represents 100% gas. These three sandstone lines “rotate” up-

ward toward the selected shale point when N/G decreases, indicated Figure 20. Studying the gas sands 共yellow兲 in detail, we clearly see

by black lines. For well-log data, the brine sands 共cyan兲 and oil sands they span a VP / VS of 1.5–2. Most of the gas sands have VP / VS of 1.6–

共red兲 fall between N / G ⳱ 1 and 0.8. Most of the gas sands 共yellow兲 1.7, representative for N/G values of 0.9. Hence, very little shale in-

seem to fall on similar porosities, with N/G varying between 1 and tercalation will cause a significant increase in VP / VS compared to ho-

0.6. mogeneous, clean sands 共N / G ⳱ 1兲.

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Rock physics analysis of siliciclastics 75A45

which assumes that all grains experience the same mean strain field. suffer from the fact that many input parameters need to be known in

This ignores the actual grain-scale heterogeneous strains and stress- advance, many of which can become “fudge factors” in the models.

es. Mavko et al. 共2009兲 give three caveats about the use of effective- Our hybrid modeling approach for sands and sandstones combines

medium models for granular media. First, granular media have prop- physical-contact theory with heuristic elastic bounds to predict the

erties lying somewhat between solids and liquids and are sometimes microstructure of these rocks from elastic properties. For shales, we

considered a distinct form of matter. Second, complex behavior aris- recommend using inclusion-based models to capture the effect of

es from the ability of grains to move relative to each other, modify varying pore shapes and anisotropy. We have demonstrated using

their packing and coordination numbers, and rotate. Third, observed these rock-physics models on well-log data from a sequence of Pale-

behavior, depending on the stress and strain conditions, is some- ocene sands and shales in the North Sea.

times approximately nonlinearly elastic, sometimes viscoelastic, It is essential to quantify the lithology and rock texture before we

and sometimes somewhat fluidic. can reliably estimate pore-fluid and pressure effects. Therefore, the

Many workers 共Goddard, 1990; Makse et al., 1999, 2004; Duffaut link between geologic processes and rock properties should always

et al., 2010兲 show that this complex behavior causes effective-medi- be integrated in the work flow of any seismic-reservoir characteriza-

um theory to fail in cohesionless granular assemblies. Closed-form tion study. Finally, one should note the gap between the different

effective-medium theories tend to predict the incorrect 共relative to scales, from the pore-scale microstructure to seismic wiggles. We

laboratory observations兲 dependence of effective moduli on pres- use the Backus average as one technique to upscale and estimate ef-

sure and poor estimates of bulk-to-shear moduli ratio. Shear moduli fective seismic properties of interbedded sequences. However, clos-

tend to be overpredicted and often require heuristic corrections 共e.g., ing the gap between different scales remains a challenging problem

Bachrach and Avseth, 2008.兲 Numerical methods, referred to as mo- in rock-physics modeling applied to seismic exploration of hetero-

lecular dynamics or discrete element modeling, which simulate the geneous reservoirs.

motions and interactions of thousands of grains, appear to come

closer to predicting observed behavior 共e.g., Makse et al., 2004; Gar-

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

cia and Medina, 2006兲. Closed-form effective-medium models can

be useful because it is not always practical to run a numerical simula- Thanks to Anders Dræge at Statoil for contributions on building

tion; however, model predictions of the types presented in this sec- the rock-physics depth trend for shale used in this paper. We also ac-

tion must be used with care. knowledge the sponsors of the Stanford Rock Physics and Borehole

In modeling unconsolidated sands, we have assumed normally Geophysics Project 共SRB兲 and the Stanford Center for Reservoir

compacted 共Middleton and Wilcock, 1994兲 sediments and have esti- Forecasting 共SCRF兲.

mated the effective pressure used in the HM contact theory from

Terzaghi’s principle 共equation 9兲. This principle implies that com-

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