Long-term observation of permeability in sedimentary rocks under high-temperature and stress conditions and its interpretation mediated by microstructural investigations

Hideaki Yasuhara, Naoki Kinoshita, Hiroaki Ohfuji, Manabu Takahashi, Kazumasa Ito, Kiyoshi Kishida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this study, a series of long-term, intermittent permeability experiments utilizing Berea sandstone and Horonobe mudstone samples, with and without a single artificial fracture, is conducted for more than 1000 days to examine the evolution of rock permeability under relatively high-temperature and confining pressure conditions. Effluent element concentrations are also measured throughout the experiments. Before and after flow-through experiments, rock samples are prepared for X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to examine the mineralogical changes between pre and postexperimental samples, and also for microfocus X-ray CT to evaluate the alteration of the microstructure. Although there are exceptions, the observed, qualitative evolution of permeability is found to be generally consistent in both the intact and the fractured rock samples - the permeability in the intact rock samples increases with time after experiencing no significant changes in permeability for the first several hundred days, while that in the fractured rock samples decreases with time. An evaluation of the Damkohler number and of the net dissolution, using the measured element concentrations, reveals that the increase in permeability can most likely be attributed to the relative dominance of the mineral dissolution in the pore spaces, while the decrease can most likely be attributed to the mineral dissolution/crushing at the propping asperities within the fracture. Taking supplemental observations by microfocus X-ray CT and using the intact sandstone samples, a slight increase in relatively large pore spaces is seen. This supports the increase in permeability observed in the flow-through experiments. Key Points: A long-term evolution in rock permeability is measured The increase in permeability in the intact samples is likely due to the formation of flow paths The decrease in permeability in the fractured samples is attributed to the dissolution at the contacting asperities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5425-5449
Number of pages25
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume51
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • SEM
  • X-ray CT
  • flow-through experiment
  • fluid chemistry
  • mineral dissolution
  • permeability
  • pressure solution
  • rock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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