ABSTRACT:

We investigate effect of testing temperature on the dynamic frame stiffness of quartz-bearing North Sea sandstone from depths of 5 km. We show that at low stress levels, the rock frame stiffens with increasing temperature and we propose an explanation for the controlling mechanisms. While equilibrating to atmospheric conditions, cooling and stress release of reservoir material can induce tensional forces in the rock frame leading to ruptures of the contact cement in the weakest grain contacts. The frame stiffness hence reduces, as the ruptures are permanent. However, a fraction of the in-situ stiffness can be restored by reestablishment of reservoir stress or temperature, but only as recovery of contact between ruptures and not as re-cementation. In literature, ruptures of contact cement are denoted as micro-cracks, strictly posing a bulk term, without distinguishing effects of stress from temperature. This is unfortunate and hence, we designed a testing program with the intension of separating and quantifying effects of temperature and stress, specifically for the sandstone material subject to this study.

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