Imaging Elastodynamic and Hydraulic Properties of In Situ Fractured Rock: An Experimental Investigation Exploring Effects of Dynamic Stressing and Shearing

Clay E. Wood, Parisa Shokouhi, Prabhakaran Manogharan, Jacques Rivère, Derek Elsworth, Chris Marone

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We describe laboratory experiments to elucidate the relationship between nonlinear elasticity and permeability evolution in fractured media subjected to local stress perturbations. This study is part of an effort to measure fluid pathways and fracture properties using active-source acoustic monitoring during fluid injection and shear of rough fractures. Experiments were conducted with L-shaped samples of Westerly granite fractured in situ under triaxial conditions with deionized water subsequently circulated through the resulting fractures. After in situ fracturing, we separately imposed oscillations of the applied normal stress and pore pressure with amplitudes ranging from 0.2 to 1 MPa and frequencies from 0.1 to 40 Hz. In response to normal stress and pore pressure oscillations, fractured Westerly granite samples exhibit characteristic transient softening, acoustic velocity fluctuations, and slow recovery, together with permeability enhancement or decay, informing us about the coupled nonlinear elastodynamic and poromechanical rock properties. Fracture interface properties (contact asperity stiffness, aperture) are then altered in situ by shearing, which generally decreases the measured elastic nonlinearity and permeability change for both normal stress and pore pressure oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020JB021521
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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