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Anisotropic complex electrical conductivity of black shale and mudstone from the Moffat Shale Group (Ireland)Normal access

Authors: L. Romhild, M. Sonntag, D. Kiyan, R. Rogers, V. Rath and J.H. Borner
Journal name: Near Surface Geophysics
Issue: Vol 17, No 6, December 2019 pp. 675 - 690
DOI: 10.1002/nsg.12073
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 4.65Mb )
Price: € 30

The geological setting in the north of Ireland, especially concerning the origin of the Moffat Shale Group, has long been under discussion. Within the Tellus Programme of the Geological Survey Ireland, airborne electromagnetic measurements revealed high-conductivity anomalies that have been interpreted as the response of a black shale. In order to petrophysically characterize the Moffat Shale, a laboratory study using material from two shallow boreholes was carried out. The study focuses on spectral induced polarization measurements on 23 oriented samples in the frequency range from 10−4 to 105 Hz. The sample material can be categorized into two groups. A mudstone-like rock type shows weakly frequency-dependent, porosity-driven conductivities with a strong anisotropy. On the other hand, black shale samples are characterized by moderately anisotropic but strong polarization effects especially at low frequencies and a strong conductivity increase towards higher frequencies. The polarization in the black shale is controlled by the texture and volume fraction of the polarizable components. The spectral induced polarization data are processed by means of a Debye decomposition approach. The anisotropy of the complex electrical conductivity is determined by utilizing the foliation dip angle and assuming tilted transverse isotropic conditions. The relevance of the laboratory findings for airborne electromagnetic surveys is addressed with a synthetic one-dimensional modelling study.

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