Vibrational modes of hydraulic fractures: Inference of fracture geometry from resonant frequencies and attenuation

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1002/2014JB011286.

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Authors

Bradley Lipovsky , Eric M. Dunham

Abstract

Oscillatory seismic signals arising from resonant vibrations of hydraulic fractures are observed in many geologic systems, including volcanoes, glaciers and ice sheets, and hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoirs. To better quantify the physical dimensions of fluid‐filled cracks and properties of the fluids within them, we study wave motion along a thin hydraulic fracture waveguide. We present a linearized analysis, valid at wavelengths greater than the fracture aperture, that accounts for quasi‐static elastic deformation of the fracture walls, as well as fluid viscosity, inertia, and compressibility. In the long‐wavelength limit, anomalously dispersed guided waves known as crack or Krauklis waves propagate with restoring force from fracture wall elasticity. At shorter wavelengths, the waves become sound waves within the fluid channel. Wave attenuation in our model is due to fluid viscosity, rather than seismic radiation from crack tips or fracture wall roughness. We characterize viscous damping at both low frequencies, where the flow is always fully developed, and at high frequencies, where the flow has a nearly constant velocity profile away from viscous boundary layers near the fracture walls. Most observable seismic signals from resonating fractures likely arise in the boundary layer crack wave limit, where fluid‐solid coupling is pronounced and attenuation is minimal. We present a method to estimate the aperture and length of a resonating hydraulic fracture using both the seismically observed quality factor and characteristic frequency. Finally, we develop scaling relations between seismic moment and characteristic frequency that might be useful when interpreting the statistics of hydraulic fracture events.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/s4qpv

Subjects

Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Glaciology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Volcanology

Keywords

Seismology, hydraulic fracture, crevasse, fracture resonance, glacier hydrology

Dates

Published: 2018-05-27 22:53

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License

GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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