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Holcomb, David J.1, William A. Olsson1 
(1) Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

ABSTRACT: Fluid Flow during Compaction Localization

When subjected to confined, axisymmetric compression stress, certain porous sandstones exhibit non-uniform compaction. The compaction occurs as a localization process, analogous to shear localization, but results in a thickening, tabular zone of compaction as opposed to culminating in a shear fracture. We report the results of a suite of triaxial compression experiments done over a confining pressure range of 40 to 60 MPa on Castlegate sandstone, measuring simultaneously, stress, strain, acoustic emission locations, and permeability. A major result is that compaction localization produces up to a two-order-of-magnitude decrease in permeability. Correlation of local strain measurements and acoustic emission locations made on the same specimen shows that the compaction process proceeds as a propagating front approximately 20 mm thick. A model of the compaction process was developed that incorporates the moving boundary between compacted, low-permeability regions and un-compacted, higher-permeability regions, and compaction-induced fluid injection at the boundaries. Because of the inhomogeneous nature of compaction produced by compaction localization, and its temporal evolution, a number of phenomena related to fluid flow are predicted by the model: locally increased pore pressures and spatial changes in the effective permeability. Experimental results show the evolution of effective permeability to be linear with respect to the distance the compaction fronts propagate as predicted by the model. Implications of the results for future experimentation and for reservoirs are, briefly, that the interaction between compaction-induced fluid pressure and compaction localization should lead to a phenomenon analogous to dilatancy hardening, impeding the propagation of compaction bands.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.