ESP Toolbox: A Computational Framework for Precise, Scale-Independent Analysis of Bulk Elastic and Seismic Properties

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:55 PM
Scott E Johnson1, Senthil S Vel1, Alden C Cook1, Won Joon Song1, Christopher C Gerbi1 and David A Okaya2, (1)University of Maine, Orono, ME, United States, (2)Univ Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Owing to the abundance of highly anisotropic minerals in the crust, the Voigt and Reuss bounds on the seismic velocities can be separated by more than 1 km/s. These bounds are determined by modal mineralogy and crystallographic preferred orientations (CPO) of the constituent minerals, but where the true velocities lie between these bounds is determined by other fabric parameters such as the shapes, shape-preferred orientations, and spatial arrangements of grains. Thus, the calculation of accurate bulk stiffness relies on explicitly treating the grain-scale heterogeneity, and the same principle applies at larger scales, for example calculating accurate bulk stiffness for a crustal volume with varying proportions and distributions of folds or shear zones.

We have developed stand-alone GUI software – ESP Toolbox – for the calculation of 3D bulk elastic and seismic properties of heterogeneous and polycrystalline materials using image or EBSD data. The GUI includes a number of different homogenization techniques, including Voigt, Reuss, Hill, geometric mean, self-consistent and asymptotic expansion homogenization (AEH) methods. The AEH method, which uses a finite element mesh, is most accurate since it explicitly accounts for elastic interactions of constituent minerals/phases. The user need only specify the microstructure and material properties of the minerals/phases.

We use the Toolbox to explore changes in bulk elasticity and related seismic anisotropy caused by specific variables, including: (a) the quartz alpha-beta phase change in rocks with varying proportions of quartz, (b) changes in modal mineralogy and CPO fabric that occur during progressive deformation and metamorphism, and (c) shear zones of varying thickness, abundance and geometry in continental crust. The Toolbox allows rapid sensitivity analysis around these and other variables, and the resulting bulk stiffness matrices can be used to populate volumes for synthetic wave propagation experiments that allow direct visualization of how variables of interest might affect propagation at a variety of scales. Sensitivity analyses also illustrate the value of the more precise AEH method.

The ESP Toolbox can be downloaded here: