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Anisotropic dispersion and attenuation due to wave-induced fluid flow. Quasi-static finite element modeling in poroelastic solids

: Wenzlau, F.; Altmann, J.B.; Müller, T.M.


Journal of geophysical research. B, Solid earth 115 (2010), Art. B07204, 12 pp.
ISSN: 0148-0227
ISSN: 0196-6936
ISSN: 1934-8843
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ITWM ()

Heterogeneous porous media such as hydrocarbon reservoir rocks are effectively described as anisotropic viscoelastic solids. They show characteristic velocity dispersion and attenuation of seismic waves within a broad frequency band, and an explanation for this observation is the mechanism of wave-induced pore fluid flow. Various theoretical models quantify dispersion and attenuation of normal incident compressional waves in finely layered porous media. Similar models of shear wave attenuation are not known, nor do general theories exist to predict wave-induced fluid flow effects in media with a more complex distribution of medium heterogeneities. By using finite element simulations of poroelastic relaxation, the total frequency-dependent complex stiffness tensor can be computed for a porous medium with arbitrary internal heterogeneity. From the stiffness tensor, velocity dispersion and frequency-dependent attenuation are derived for compressional and shear waves as a function of the angle of incidence. We apply our approach to the case of layered media and to that of an ellipsoidal poroelastic inclusion. In the case of the ellipsoidal inclusion, compressional and shear wave modes show significant attenuation, and the characteristic frequency dependence of the effect is governed by the spatiotemporal scale of the pore fluid pressure relaxation. In our anisotropic examples, the angle dependence of the attenuation is stronger than that of the velocity dispersion. It becomes clear that the spatial attenuation patterns show specific characteristics of wave induced fluid flow, implying that anisotropic attenuation measurements may contribute to the inversion of fluid transport properties in heterogeneous porous media.