Seismoelectric effects due to mesoscopic heterogeneities



[1] While the seismic effects of wave-induced fluid flow due to mesoscopic heterogeneities have been studied for several decades, the role played by these types of heterogeneities on seismoelectric phenomena is largely unexplored. To address this issue, we have developed a novel methodological framework which allows for the coupling of wave-induced fluid flow, as inferred through numerical oscillatory compressibility tests, with the pertinent seismoelectric conversion mechanisms. Simulating the corresponding response of a water-saturated sandstone sample containing mesoscopic fractures, we demonstrate for the first time that these kinds of heterogeneities can produce measurable seismoelectric signals under typical laboratory conditions. Given that this phenomenon is sensitive to key hydraulic and mechanical properties, we expect that the results of this pilot study will stimulate further exploration on this topic in several domains of the Earth, environmental, and engineering sciences.