Acoustic properties of carbonates: Effects of rock texture and implications for fluid substitution

K. Verwer, H. Braaksma, J.A.M. Kenter

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    More than 250 plugs from outcrops and three nearby boreholes in an undisturbed reef of Miocene (Tortonian) age were quantitatively analyzed for texture, mineralogy, and acoustic properties. We measured the P- and S-waves of carbonate rocks under dry (humidified) and brine-saturated conditions at 10 MPa effective pressure with an ultrasonic pulse transmission technique (1 MHz). The data set was compared with an extensive database of petrophysical measurements of a variety of rock types encountered in carbonate sedimentary sequences. Two major textural groups were distinguished on the basis of trends in plots of compressional-wave velocity versus Poisson's ratio (a specific ratio of P-wave over S-wave velocity). In granular rocks, the framework of depositional grains is the main medium for acoustic-wave propagation; in crystalline rocks, this medium is provided by a framework of interlocking crystals formed during diagenesis. Rock textures are connected to primary depositional parameters and a diagenetic overprint through the specific effects on Poisson's ratio. Calculating acoustic velocities using Gassmann fluid substitution modeling approximates measured saturated velocities for 55% of the samples (3% error tolerance); however, it shows considerable errors because shear modulus changes with saturation. Introducing brine into the pore space may decrease the shear modulus of the rock by approximately 1.4 GPa or, alternatively, increase it by approximately 1.4 GPa. This change in shear modulus is coupled with the texture of the rock. In granular carbonates, the shear modulus decreases; in crystalline and cemented carbonates, it increases with saturation. The results demonstrate the intimate relationship between elastic behavior and the depositional and diagenetic properties of carbonate sedimentary rocks. The results potentially allow the direct extraction of granular and crystalline rock texture from acoustic data alone and may help predict rock types from seismic data and in wells. © 2008 Society of Exploration Geophysicists. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)B51-B65
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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