Commun. Comput. Phys.,
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Volume 3.

Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Seismoelectric Conversions in Boreholes

Zhenya Zhu 1*, Shihong Chi 2, Xin Zhan 1, M. Nafi Toksoz 1

1 Earth Resources Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 42 Carleton St., Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.
2 Petrophysics, ConocoPhillips, 600 North Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77252, USA.

Received 19 September 2006; Accepted (in revised version) 6 June 2007
Available online 14 September 2007


We present theoretical and experimental studies on the effects of formation properties on seismoelectric conversions in fluid-filled boreholes. First, we derive the theoretical formulations for seismoelectric responses for an acoustic source in a borehole. Then, we compute the electric fields in boreholes penetrating formations with different permeability and porosity, and then we analyze the sensitivity of the converted electric fields to formation permeability and porosity. We also describe the laboratory results of the seismoelectric and seismomagnetic fields induced by an acoustic source in borehole models to confirm our theoretical and numerical developments qualitatively. We use a piezoelectric transducer to generate acoustic waves and a point electrode to receive the localized seismoelectric fields in layered boreholes and the electric component of electromagnetic waves in a fractured borehole model. Numerical results show that the magnitude ratio of the converted electric wave to the acoustic pressure increases with the porosity and permeability increases in both fast and slow formations. Furthermore, the converted electric signal is sensitive to the formation permeability for the same source frequency and formation porosity. Our experiments validate our theoretical results qualitatively. An acoustic wave at a fracture intersecting a borehole induces a radiating electromagnetic wave.

AMS subject classifications: 65Y10, 76Q05, 76S05, 78A25, 86A25

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Key words: Seismoelectric conversions, borehole measurements, laboratory experiments, acoustic waves, borehole models.

*Corresponding author.
Email: (Z. Zhu), (S. Chi), (X. Zhan), (M. N. Toksoz)

The Global Science Journal