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Gamma Ray Log

Muhammad Shamshad Gadi Institute of Geology University of Punjab, Lahore

Presented in Schlumberger, Islamabad.

Section 1 - Geophysical logging

Definition Use of well logs Information obtained from logs

Section 2 - Gamma Ray logs

Factors affecting the log value Log interpretation and applications Conclusions

Principle and theory Tools Log presentation Horizontal and vertical resolution

Geophysical Well Log

Continuous recording of a geophysical parameters (density, temperature etc) along a borehole -Wireline logs or simply Well logs.

Use of geophysical well logs

Drilled cuttings leaves an imprecise record of formation drilled. Cores are expensive & time consuming

Information we can obtain

Rock Types (Formation) Lithology Resistivity. Geometry of Bore Hole Saturation (Water & Hydrocarbon) Porosity and Permeability. Bulk Density Temperature in hole

Gamma ray log

Method of measuring naturally occurring gamma radiation to characterize the rock or sediment in a borehole Uranium, Thorium and Potassium

Figure1 : The radiations from rocks surrounding borehole

Different types of rock emit different amounts and different spectra of natural gamma radiation. Amongst sediments, shales emit strongest radiation.

Occurrences of u, th and k

Occurrence of u

Acidic rocks contain 4.65 ppm Soluble salts in uranyle form U6+ 2+ Uranous form UO2

From solution Uranium is deposited in three ways: 1) chemical precipitation in acidic and reducing environment 2)Adsorption on organic matter 3) Chemical reaction in phosphorites

Occurrence of t

Primary source is acidic and intermediate igneous rocks It is not soluble in water Transported as clay fraction detrital grains so more common in terrestrial environment than marine Heavy minerals such as thorite, monazite zircon contain thorium

Occurrence of

Potassium is chemically active Found in clay minerals, micas, feldspars and k-salts such as KCl

Figure 2. Gamma rays from sandstone, shale and coal (schematic)

Simple Gamma Ray Log

The radiations from three elements (K,U,Th) in combination.

Spectral Gamma Ray Log

The amount of each individual element (K,U,Th) contributing to this radioactivity By the wavelengths of their characteristic gamma emissions.

Energies of gamma rays

Figure 3 Energies of gamma rays .


GR Logging Tool

Scintillation counter made up of a large sodium iodide crystal Produces a flash of light Converted to an electric pulse by a photoelectrical cell

Figure 4: Scheme of a gamma ray tool

(re-drawn from Serra, 1979 after a Lane Wells documents)

Compton scattering

Figure 5. Compton scattering

Log presentation
(Simple gamma ray log)

Figure 6: Presentation of Gamma Ray Log.

From Dr. Paul Glover

Log presentation
(Spectral gamma ray log)
1ppm U=8.09 API 1ppm Th=3.93 API 1% k=16.32 API

Figure 7: Presentation of Spectral Gamma Ray Log.

From Dr. Paul Glover

Figure 8: Volume Of Investigation.

(Rider, 1996)

Logging speed

Radiations are counted by a tool over a fixed period of time, say two seconds, called the time constant.

(Rider, 1996)

Unwanted borehole effects


Effects on log

Figure 9: Effect of KCl mud on log value

From Dr. Paul Glover

Interpretation of Gamma Ray Logs

Rocks of low radioactivity include primarily clean sandstones, limestones, and dolomites. Anhydrite, halite, lignite and coal have also a low radioactivity. Their radioactivity increases when they are shaly. Ordinary shales have a much higher radioactivity than the rocks listed above. The radioactivity of sandy shales is less than that of shales.

Figure 10. Effect of different lithologies on the gamma ray log.(schematic)

From Dr. Paul Glover


Figure:11 Potassium Salts giving very high peaks of radioactivity in a evaporate sequence. (Permian North sea)
( Rider, 1996)

Coal And Source Rock Radioactivity

Figure 12. Gamma ray characteristics of coal.


Facies and grain size

It is based on relationship between grain size and shale content.

Figure 14. Facies from Gamma ray log

( Rider, 1996)

Gamma ray shapes and facies sequences

Figure 15. Gamma ray shapes and facies sequences

From Dr. Paul Glover


Most frequently used for correlation because it is lithology indicator.

Figure 16. Correlation using the gamma ray log. Baronia field, sarawak,

(From Scherer, 1980)

Th/U ratio Depositional environment of shale

U has affinity for marine environment Th has affinity for continental environment Normal Th/U ratio of shales is 3-6 Shales with higher ratios=continental environment Shales with lower ratios show more marine envionmwnts

Th/U ratio Depositional environment of shale

Figure 18.Use of Th/U ratio to indicate environment of deposition

(From Rider,1996)

Shale Volume
GR log GR min GR max GR min

( ) () = ()


Clean sandstones, limestones, and dolomites give low value of gamma ray log Anhydrite, halite and gypsum have low radioactivity. lignite and coal show very low values on gamma ray log. Gamma ray log is good shale indicator. Organic rich black shales give very high value on log.