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Elastic anisotropy of core samples from the Taiwan Chelungpu Fault Drilling Project (TCDP): direct 3-D measurements and weak anisotropy approximations

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SUMMARY

The study of seismic anisotropy has become a powerful tool to decipher rock physics attributes in reservoirs or in complex tectonic settings. We compare direct 3-D measurements of P-wave velocity in 132 different directions on spherical rock samples to the prediction of the approximate model proposed by Louis et al. based on a tensorial approach. The data set includes measurements on dry spheres under confining pressure ranging from 5 to 200 MPa for three sandstones retrieved at a depth of 850, 1365 and 1394 metres in TCDP hole A (Taiwan Chelungpu Fault Drilling Project). As long as the P-wave velocity anisotropy is weak, we show that the predictions of the approximate model are in good agreement with the measurements. As the tensorial method is designed to work with cylindrical samples cored in three orthogonal directions, a significant gain both in the number of measurements involved and in sample preparation is achieved compared to measurements on spheres. We analysed the pressure dependence of the velocity field and show that as the confining pressure is raised the velocity increases, the anisotropy decreases but remains significant even at high pressure, and the shape of the ellipsoid representing the velocity (or elastic) fabric evolves from elongated to planar. These observations can be accounted for by considering the existence of both isotropic and anisotropic crack distributions and their evolution with applied pressure.

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