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Numerically quantifying energy loss caused by squirt flowNormal access

Authors: B. Quintal, E. Caspari, K. Holliger and H. Steeb
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 67, No 8, October 2019 pp. 2196 - 2212
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12832
Organisations: Wiley
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 2.92Mb )

In interconnected microcracks, or in microcracks connected to spherical pores, the deformation associated with the passage of mechanical waves can induce fluid flow parallel to the crack walls, which is known as squirt flow. This phenomenon can also occur at larger scales in hydraulically interconnected mesoscopic cracks or fractures. The associated viscous friction causes the waves to experience attenuation and velocity dispersion. We present a simple hydromechanical numerical scheme, based on the interface-coupled Lam´e–Navier and Navier–Stokes equations, to simulate squirt flow in the frequency domain. The linearized, quasi-static Navier–Stokes equations describe the laminar flow of a compressible viscous fluid in conduits embedded in a linear elastic solid background described by the quasi-static Lam´e–Navier equations. Assuming that the heterogeneous model behaves effectively like a homogeneous viscoelastic medium at a larger spatial scale, the resulting attenuation and stiffness modulus dispersion are computed from spatial averages of the complexvalued, frequency-dependent stress and strain fields. An energy-based approach is implemented to calculate the local contributions to attenuation that, when integrated over the entire model, yield results that are identical to those based on the viscoelastic assumption. In addition to thus validating this assumption, the energy-based approach allows for analyses of the spatial dissipation patterns in squirt flow models. We perform simulations for a series of numerical models to illustrate the viability and versatility of the proposed method. For a 3D model consisting of a spherical crack embedded in a solid background, the characteristic frequency of the resulting P-wave attenuation agrees with that of a corresponding analytical solution, indicating that the dissipative viscous flow problem is appropriately handled in our numerical solution of the linearized, quasi-static Navier–Stokes equations. For 2D models containing either interconnected cracks or cracks connected to a circular pore, the results are compared with those based on Biot’s poroelastic equations of consolidation, which are solved through an equivalent approach. Overall, our numerical simulations and the associated analyses demonstrate the suitability of the coupled Lam´e–Navier and Navier–Stokes equations and of Biot’s equations for quantifying attenuation and dispersion for a range of squirt flow scenarios. These analyses also allow for delineating numerical and physical limitations associated with each set of equations.

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