The Effect of Micrite on Velocity, Its Sensitivity to Pressure, and Dissolution of Carbonates

Monday, 15 December 2014
Ammar El Husseiny, Stanford University, Los Altos Hills, CA, United States and Tiziana Vanorio, Stanford University, Geophysics Department, Stanford, CA, United States
This study investigates the effect of micrite on the acoustic properties of well-controlled microstructures created in the laboratory to closely mimic carbonate rocks. In particular, we examine the effect of micrite content on the elastic stiffness rock, its sensitivity to pressure, and induced dissolution upon saturation with a reactive fluid. We followed Dunham’s classification and fabricated the samples by mixing coarse (sand size) and very fine (micrite size) calcite grains in different ratios, with the addition of cement and then cold-compressing the mixture. The acoustic velocities were measured under bench-top conditions and as functions of confining pressure before and after the injection of a CO2aqueous solution.

Our bench-top measurements indicated that micrite makes the frame of the carbonate samples stiffer. Since the sensitivity of the elastic stiffness to pressure decreases as the content of micrite increases (see figure 1), we hypothesize a stiffer pore structure (i.e., rounder pores) in micrite-richer fabrics. Furthermore, the presence of micrite makes the carbonate sample more reactive upon dissolution. The concentration of Ca+2 cations in the fluid measured at the outlet after the injection of the CO2 aqueous solution shows larger dissolution in the micrite-rich samples likely due to the higher surface area of the micrite aggregates. The content of micrite also seems to affect the evolution of stiffness as dissolution proceeds. As the content of micrite increases, the enhanced dissolution translates into a marked softening of the rock frame. We conclude that the content of micrite can play an important role in the complex rock-fluid interaction of carbonates as well as when comparing Gassmann’s predictions to velocity measurements of saturated carbonates.