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Geomechanical and Petrophysical Properties of Mudrocks

Product Code: SP454
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by E.H. Rutter, J. Mecklenburgh and K.G. Taylor
Publication Date: 09 October 2017
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Special Publication 454

A surge of interest in the geomechanical and petrophysical properties of mudrocks (shales) has taken place in recent years following the development of a shale gas industry in the United States and elsewhere, and with the prospect of similar developments in the UK. Also, these rocks are of particular importance in excavation and construction geotechnics and other rock engineering applications, such as underground natural gas storage, carbon dioxide disposal and radioactive waste storage. They may greatly influence the stability of natural and engineered slopes. Mudrocks, which make up almost three-quarters of all the sedimentary rocks on Earth, therefore impact on many areas of applied geoscience.

This volume focuses on the mechanical behaviour and various physical properties of mudrocks. The 15 chapters are grouped into three themes: (i) physical properties such as porosity, permeability, fluid flow through cracks, strength and geotechnical behaviour; (ii) mineralogy and microstructure, which control geomechanical behaviour; and (iii) fracture, both in laboratory studies and in the field.

Published online 11/09/2017. Print copies available from 09/10/2017.

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Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN:
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 9781786203168
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 368
Weight: 1 kg




RUTTER, E., MECKLENBURGH, J. & TAYLOR, K. Geomechanical and petrophysical properties of mudrocks: introduction

Petrophysical properties

BUSCH, A., SCHWEINAR, K., KAMPMAN, N., COORN, A., PIPICH, V., FEOKTYSTOV, A., LEU, L., AMANN-HILDENBRAND, A. & BERTIER, P. Determining the porosity of mudrocks using methodological pluralism

MCKERNAN, R., MECKLENBURGH, J., RUTTER, E. & TAYLOR, K. Microstructural controls on the pressure-dependent permeability of Whitby mudstone

RUTTER, E. H. & MECKLENBURGH, J. Hydraulic conductivity of bedding-parallel cracks in shale as a function of shear and normal stress

PHILIPP, T., AMANN-HILDENBRAND, A., LAURICH, B., DESBOIS, G., LITTKE, R. & URAI, J. L. The effect of microstructural heterogeneity on pore size distribution and permeability in Opalinus Clay (Mont Terri, Switzerland): insights from an integrated study of laboratory fluid flow and pore morphology from BIB-SEM images

FINK, R., KROOSS, B. M. & AMANN-HILDENBRAND, A. Stress-dependence of porosity and permeability of the Upper Jurassic Bossier shale: an experimental study

HARRINGTON, J. F., CUSS, R. J. & TALANDIER, J. Gas transport properties through intact and fractured Callovo-Oxfordian mudstones

WENTINCK, H.M. & BUSCH, A. Modelling of CO2 diffusion and related poro-elastic effects in a smectite-rich cap rock above a reservoir used for CO2 storage

Microstructure and mineralogy

MA, L., FAUCHILLE, A.-L., DOWEY, P. J., FIGUEROA PILZ, F., COURTOIS, L., TAYLOR, K. G. & LEE, P. D. Correlative multi-scale imaging of shales: a review and future perspectives

SEEMANN, T., BERTIER, P., KROOSS, B. M. & STANJEK, H. Water vapour sorption on mudrocks

CUFF, C., CORKERON, M., RASMUSSEN, C. E., BUSH, A.& CAMUTI, K. Mineralogical characterization of coal samples relevant to coal bed methane porosity and permeability concerns

WILSON, M. J., WILSON, L. & SHALDYBIN, M. V. The importance of illitic minerals in shale instability and in unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs

CRIPPS, J. C. & CZEREWKO, M. A. The influence of diagenetic and mineralogical factors on the breakdown and geotechnical properties of mudrocks


CHANDLER, M. R., MEREDITH, P. G., BRANTUT, N. & CRAWFORD, B. R. Effect of temperature on the fracture toughness of anisotropic shale and other rocks

HARPER, T. R. Strain superposition and fault stability during sequential hydraulic fracturing

WESTAWAY, R. Integrating induced seismicity with rock mechanics: a conceptual model for the 2011 Preese Hall fracture development and induced seismicity



David Dewhurst

The geomechanical and petrophysical properties of mudrocks have become a topic du jour recently, mainly due to the gas shale energy boom. Such properties are also critical for conventional petroleum exploration and production in terms of top seal integrity, wellbore stability and pore pressure prediction for example, as well as for geological CO2 storage and nuclear waste disposal. Characterisation of mudrocks as reservoirs and/or seals requires specialised knowledge and testing equipment due to the response of clay-bearing materials to changes in saturation, fluid composition, effective stress and microstructure. Most sealing mudrocks are rich in clay minerals with small pore throat sizes and high ductility, while the so called gas shales tend to be rich in organic matter and low in clay, allowing them to better sustain natural and induced fracture systems.

The volume is divided into three sections, the first covering petrophysical properties comprising seven papers, the second part covers microstructure and mineralogy with five papers along with a third section on fractures with three papers. There is a relatively even split between water saturated over/underburden mudrocks and gas shales. Determinations of porosity and permeability in mudrocks feature strongly, with links made to the impact of stress and microstructure, the latter in the main having SEM images of high quality. Lithology and pore structure effects are also covered, with impacts in areas ranging from engineering geology to shale reservoirs. The section on fracturing covers laboratory experiments, field scale seismicity and hydraulic fracture modelling, generally applicable to shale reservoirs.
The papers are well set out, the vast majority of the diagrams are clearly visible and easy to read with the liberal use of colour throughout a bonus. This book would be a good read for specialists working on mudrocks for various applications and also for people wanting to know more about the topic as the reference lists throughout are very comprehensive.

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