Rock Quality, Seismic Velocity, Attenuation and Anisotropy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Rock Quality, Seismic Velocity, Attenuation and Anisotropy

1st Edition

By Nick Barton

CRC Press

756 pages | 610 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415394413
pub: 2006-11-03
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Seismic measurements take many forms, and appear to have a universal role in the Earth Sciences. They are the means for most easily and economically interpreting what lies beneath the visible surface. There are huge economic rewards and losses to be made when interpreting the shallow crust or subsurface more, or less accurately, as the case may be.

This book describes seismic behaviour at many scales and from numerous fields in geophysics, tectonophysics and rock physics, and from civil, mining and petroleum engineering. Addressing key items for improved understanding of seismic behaviour, it often interprets seismic measurements in rock mechanics terms, with particular attention to the cause of attenuation, its inverse seismic quality, and the anisotropy of fracture compliances and stiffnesses.

Reviewed behaviour stretches over ten orders of magnitude, from micro-crack compliance in laboratory tests to cross-continent attenuation. Between these extremes lie seismic investigation of rock joints, boreholes, block tests, dam and bridge foundations, quarry blasting, canal excavations, hydropower and transportation tunnels, machine bored TBM tunnels, sub-sea sediment and mid-ocean ridge measurements, where the emphasis is on velocity-depth-age models. Attenuation of earthquake coda-waves is also treated, including in-well measurements.

In the later chapters, there is a general emphasis on deeper, higher stress, larger scale applications of seismic, such as shear-wave splitting for interpreting the attenuation, anisotropy and orientation of permeable 'open' fracture sets in petroleum reservoirs, and the 4D seismic effects of water-flood, oil production and compaction. The dispersive or frequency dependence of most seismic measurements and their dependence on fracture dimensions and fracture density is emphasized. The possibility that shear displacement may be required to explain permeability at depth is quantified.

This book is cross-disciplinary, non-mathematical and phenomenological in nature, containing a wealth of figures and a wide review of the literature from many fields in the Earth Sciences. Including a chapter of conclusions and an extensive subject index, it is a unique reference work for professionals, researchers, university teachers and students working in the fields of geophysics, civil, mining and petroleum engineering. It will be particularly relevant to geophysicists, engineering geologists and geologists who are engaged in the interpretation of seismic measurements in rock and petroleum engineering.


"This important, wide-ranging compendium of rock physics research is intended to bridge the information gap that exists between rock mechanics engineers involved with projects in civil, mining and petroleum engineering and geophysicists working in areas such as petroleum reservoir and earthquake studies. […] In the study, largely non-mathematical in nature, the author assembles and refers to a large body of literature concerned with experimental and theoretical studies in which both rock mechanics and geophysics at all scales are involved. […] [A] most important contribution from which both rock mechanics engineers and geophysicists will benefit immensely." Michael King, Imperial College London, UK

"Let me first start my review by congratulating Barton for making such a cross-disciplinary effort in this book . . . Barton presents an excellent example of what could be accomplished with such collaboration by providing readers a wide perspective of the applications from both geophysics and geomechanics . . . I found the book particularly enjoyable to read since I am a strong advocate of the cross-discipline fertilization of geophysics and geomechanics. I would recommend it as a reference book to both geophysicists and even more to rock mechanics specialists because of the unique multidisciplinary coverage and immense references."

– Azra N. Tutuncu, in The Leading Edge, April 2009, Vol. 28 No. 4

Table of Contents



The multi-disciplinary scope of seismic and rock quality

Revealing hidden rock conditions

Some basic principles of P, S and Q

Q and Q

Limitations of refraction seismic bring tomographic solutions



1 Shallow seismic refraction, some basic theory, and the importance of rock type

1.1 The challenge of the near-surface in civil engineering

1.2 Some basic aspects concerning elastic body waves

1.2.1 Some sources of reduced elastic moduli

1.3 Relationships between Vp and Vs and their meaning in field work

1.4 Some advantages of shear waves

1.5 Basic estimation of rock-type and rock mass condition, from shallow seismic P-wave velocity

1.6 Some preliminary conversions from velocity to rock quality

1.7 Some limitations of the refraction seismic velocity interpretations

1.8 Assumed limitations may hide the strengths of the method

1.9 Seismic quality Q and apparent similarities to Q-rock

2 Environmental effects on velocity

2.1 Density and Vp

2.2 Porosity and Vp

2.3 Uniaxial compressive strength and Vp

2.4 Weathering and moisture content

2.5 Combined effects of moisture and pressure

2.6 Combined effects of moisture and low temperature

3 Effects of anisotropy on Vp

3.1 An introduction to velocity anisotropy caused by micro-cracks and jointing

3.2 Velocity anisotropy caused by fabric

3.3 Velocity anisotropy caused by rock joints

3.4 Velocity anisotropy caused by interbedding

3.5 Velocity anisotropy caused by faults

4 Cross-hole velocity and cross-hole velocity tomography

4.1 Cross-hole seismic for extrapolation of properties

4.2 Cross-hole seismic tomography in tunnelling

4.3 Cross-hole tomography in mining

4.4 Using tomography to monitor blasting effects

4.5 Alternative tomograms

4.6 Cross-hole or cross-well reflection measurement and time-lapse tomography

5 Relationships between rock quality, depth and seismic velocity

5.1 Some preliminary relationships between RQD, F, and Vp

5.2 Relationship between rock quality Q and Vp for hard jointed, near-surface rock masses

5.3 Effects of depth or stress on acoustic joint closure, velocities and amplitudes

5.3.1 Compression wave amplitude sensitivities to jointing

5.3.2 Stress and velocity coupling at the Gjøvik cavern site

5.4 Observations of effective stress effects on velocities

5.5 Integration of velocity, rock mass quality, porosity, stress, strength, deformability

6 Deformation moduli and seismic velocities

6.1 Correlating Vp with the ‘static’ moduli from deformation tests

6.2 Dynamic moduli and their relationship to static moduli

6.3 Some examples of the three dynamic moduli

6.4 Use of shear wave amplitude, frequency and petite-sismique

6.5 Correlation of deformation moduli with RMR and Q

7 Excavation disturbed zones and their seismic properties

7.1 Some effects of the free-surface on velocities and attenuation

7.2 EDZ phenomena around tunnels based on seismic monitoring

7.3 EDZ investigations in selected nuclear waste isolation studies

7.3.1 BWIP – EDZ studies

7.3.2 URL – EDZ studies

7.3.3 Äspö – EDZ studies

7.3.4 Stripa – effects of heating in the EDZ of a rock mass

7.4 Acoustic detection of stress effects around boreholes

8 Seismic measurements for tunnelling

8.1 Examples of seismic applications in tunnels

8.2 Examples of the use of seismic data in TBM excavations

8.3 Implications of inverse correlation between TBM advance rate and Vp

8.4 Use of probe drilling and seismic or sonic logging ahead of TBM tunnels

8.5 In-tunnel seismic measurements for looking ahead of the face

8.6 The possible consequences of insufficient seismic investigation due to depth limitations

9 Relationships between Vp, Lugeon value, permeability and grouting in jointed rock

9.1 Correlation between Vp and Lugeon value

9.2 Rock mass deformability and the Vp-L-Q correlation

9.3 Velocity and permeability measurements at in situ block tests

9.4 Detection of permeable zones using other geophysical methods

9.5 Monitoring the effects of grouting with seismic velocity

9.6 Interpreting grouting effects in relation to improved rock mass Q-parameters


10 Seismic quality Q and attenuation at many scales

10.1 Some basic aspects concerning attenuation and Qseismic

10.1.1 A preliminary discussion of the importance of strain levels

10.1.2 A preliminary look at the attenuating effect of cracks of larger scale

10.2 Attenuation and seismic Q from laboratory measurement

10.2.1 A more detailed discussion of friction as an attenuation mechanism

10.2.2 Effects of partial saturation on seismic Q

10.3 Effect of confining pressure on seismic Q

10.3.1 The four components of elastic attenuation

10.3.2 Effect on Qp and Qs of loading rock samples towards failure

10.4 The effects of single rock joints on seismic Q

10.5 Attenuation and seismic Q from near-surface measurements

10.5.1 Potential links to rock mass quality parameters in jointed rock

10.5.2 Effects of unconsolidated sediments on seismic Q

10.5.3 Influence of frequency variations on attenuation in jointed and bedded rock

10.6 Attenuation in the crust as interpreted from earthquake coda

10.6.1 Coda Qc from earthquake sources and its relation to rock quality Qc

10.6.2 Frequency dependence of coda Qc due to depth effects

10.6.3 Temporal changes of coda Qc prior to earthquakes

10.6.4 Possible separation of attenuation into scattering and intrinsic mechanisms

10.6.5 Changed coda Q during seismic events

10.6.6 Attenuation of damage due to acceleration

10.6.7 Do microcracks or tectonic structure cause attenuation

10.6.8 Down-the-well seismometers to minimise site effects

10.6.9 Rock mass quality parallels

10.7 Attenuation across continents

10.7.1 Plate tectonics, sub-duction zones and seismic Q

10.7.2 Young and old oceanic lithosphere

10.7.3 Lateral and depth variation of seismic Q and seismic velocity

10.7.4 Cross-continent Lg coda Q variations and their explanation

10.7.5 Effect of thick sediments on continental Lg coda

10.8 Some recent attenuation measurements in petroleum reservoir environments

10.8.1 Anomalous values of seismic Q in reservoirs due to major structures

10.8.2 Evidence for fracturing effects in reservoirs on seismic Q

10.8.3 Different methods of analysis give different seismic Q

11 Velocity structure of the earth’s crust

11.1 An introduction to crustal velocity structures

11.2 The continental velocity structures

11.3 The continental margin velocity structures

11.3.1 Explaining a velocity anomaly

11.4 The mid-Atlantic ridge velocity structures

11.4.1 A possible effective stress discrepancy in early testing

11.4.2 Smoother depth velocity models

11.4.3 Recognition of lower effective stress levels beneath the oceans

11.4.4 Direct observation of sub-ocean floor velocities

11.4.5 Sub-ocean floor attenuation measurements

11.4.6 A question of porosities, aspect ratios and sealing

11.4.7 A velocity-depth discussion

11.4.8 Fracture zones

11.5 The East Pacific Rise velocity structures

11.5.1 More porosity and fracture aspect ratio theories

11.5.2 First sub-Pacific ocean core with sonic logs and permeability tests

11.5.3 Attenuation and seismic Q due to fracturing and alteration

11.5.4 Seismic attenuation tomography across the East Pacific Rise

11.5.5 Continuous sub-ocean floor seismic profiles

11.6 Age effects summary for Atlantic Ridge and Pacific Rise

11.6.1 Decline of hydrothermal circulation with age and sediment cover

11.6.2 The analogy of pre-grouting as a form of mineralization

12 Rock stress, pore pressure, borehole stability and sonic logging

12.1 Pore pressure, over-pressure, and minimum stress

12.1.1 Pore pressure and over-pressure and cross-discipline terms

12.1.2 Minimum stress and mud-weight

12.2 Stress anisotropy and its intolerance by weak rock

12.2.1 Reversal of Ko trends nearer the surface

12.3 Relevance to logging of borehole disturbed zone

12.4 Borehole in continuum becomes borehole in local discontinuum

12.5 The EDZ caused by joints, fractures and bedding-planes

12.6 Loss of porosity due to extreme depth

12.7 Dipole shear-wave logging of boreholes

12.7.1 Some further development of logging tools

12.8 Mud filtrate invasion

12.9 Challenges from ultra HPHT

13 Rock physics at laboratory scale

13.1 Compressional velocity and porosity

13.2 Density, Vs and Vp

13.3 Velocity, aspect ratio, pressure, brine and gas

13.4 Velocity, temperature and influence of fluid

13.5 Velocity, clay content and permeability

13.6 Stratigraphy based velocity to permeability estimation

13.6.1 Correlation to field processes

13.7 Velocity with patchy saturation effects in mixed units

13.8 Dynamic Poisson’s ratio, effective stress and pore fluid

13.9 Dynamic moduli for estimating static deformation moduli

13.10 Attenuation due to fluid type, frequency, clay, over-pressure, compliant minerals, dual porosity

13.10.1 Comparison of velocity and attenuation in the presence of gas or brine

13.10.2 Attenuation when dry or gas or brine saturated

13.10.3 Effect of frequency on velocity and attenuation, dry or with brine

13.10.4 Attenuation for distinguishing gas condensate from oil and water

13.10.5 Attenuation in the presence of clay content

13.10.6 Attenuation due to compliant minerals and microcracks

13.10.7 Attenuation with dual porosity samples of limestones

13.10.8 Attenuation in the presence of over-pressure

13.11 Attenuation in the presence of anisotropy

13.11.1 Attenuation for fluid front monitoring

13.12 Anisotropic velocity and attenuation in shales

13.12.1 Attenuation anisotropy expressions e , g and d

13.13 Permeability and velocity anisotropy due to fabric, joints and fractures

13.13.1 Seismic monitoring of fracture development and permeability

13.14 Rock mass quality, attenuation and modulus

14 P-waves for characterising fractured reservoirs

14.1 Some classic relationships between age, depth and velocity

14.2 Anisotropy and heterogeneity caused by inter-bedded strata and jointing

14.2.1 Some basic anisotropy theory

14.3 Shallow cross-well seismic tomography

14.3.1 Shallow cross-well seismic in fractured rock

14.3.2 Cross-well seismic tomography with permeability measurement

14.3.3 Cross-well seismic in deeper reservoir characterization

14.4 Detecting finely inter-layered sequences

14.4.1 Larger scale differentiation of facies

14.5 Detecting anisotropy caused by fractures with multi-azimuth VSP

14.5.1 Fracture azimuth and stress azimuth from P-wave surveys

14.5.2 Sonic log and VSP dispersion effects and erratic seismic Q

14.6 Dispersion as an alternative method of characterization

14.7 AVO and AVOA using P-waves for fracture detection

14.7.1 Model dependence of AVOA fracture orientation

14.7.2 Conjugate joint or fracture sets also cause anisotropy

14.7.3 Vp anisotropy caused by faulting

14.7.4 Poisson’s ratio anisotropy caused by fracturing

14.8 4C four-component acquisition of seismic including C-waves

14.9 4D seismic monitoring of reservoirs

14.9.1 Possible limitations of some rock physics data

14.9.2 Oil saturation mapping with 4D seismic

14.10 4D monitoring of compaction and porosity at Ekofisk

14.10.1 Seismic detection of subsidence in the overburden

14.10.2 The periodically neglected joint behaviour at Ekofisk

14.11 Water flood causes joint opening and potential shearing

14.12 Low frequencies for sub-basalt imaging

14.13 Recent reservoir anisotropy investigations involving P-waves and attenuation

15 Shear wave splitting in fractured reservoirs and resulting from earthquakes

15.1 Introduction

15.2 Shear wave splitting and its many implications

15.2.1 Some sources of shear-wave splitting

15.3 Crack density and EDA

15.3.1 A discussion of ‘criticality’ due to microcracks

15.3.2 Temporal changes in polarization in Cornwall HDR

15.3.3 A critique of Crampin’s microcrack model

15.3.4 90°-flips in polarization

15.4 Theory relating joint compliances with shear wave splitting

15.4.1 An unrealistic rock simulant suggests equality between ZN and ZT

15.4.2 Subsequent inequality of ZN and ZT

15.4.3 Off-vertical fracture dip or incidence angle, and normal compliance

15.4.4 Discussion of scale effects and stiffness

15.5 Dynamic and static stiffness tests on joints by Pyrak-Nolte

15.5.1 Discussion of stiffness data gaps and discipline bridging needs

15.5.2 Fracture stiffness and permeability

15.6 Normal and shear compliance theories for resolving fluid type

15.6.1 In situ compliances in a fault zone inferred from seismic Q

15.7 Shear wave splitting from earthquakes

15.7.1 Shear-wave splitting in the New Madrid seismic zone

15.7.2 Shear-wave splitting at Parkfield seismic monitoring array

15.7.3 Shear-wave splitting recorded at depth in Cajon Pass borehole

15.7.4 Stress-monitoring site (SMS) anomalies from Iceland

15.7.5 SW-Iceland, Station BJA shear wave anomalies

15.7.6 Effects of shearing on stiffness and shear wave amplitude

15.7.7 Shear-wave splitting at a geothermal field

15.7.8 Shear wave splitting during after-shocks of the Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan

15.7.9 Shear-wave splitting under the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

15.8 Recent cases of shear wave splitting in petroleum reservoirs

15.8.1 Some examples of S-wave and PS-wave acquisition methods

15.8.2 Classification of fractured reservoirs

15.8.3 Crack density and shearing of conjugate sets at Ekofisk might enhance splitting

15.8.4 Links between shear wave anisotropy and permeability

15.8.5 Polarization-stress alignment from shallow shear-wave splitting

15.8.6 Shear-wave splitting in argillaceous rocks

15.8.7 Time-lapse application of shear-wave splitting over reservoirs

15.8.8 Temporal shear-wave splitting using AE from the Valhall cap-rock

15.8.9 Shear-wave splitting and fluid identification at the Natih field

15.9 Dual-porosity poro-elastic modelling of dispersion and fracture size effects

15.9.1 A brief survey of rock mechanics pseudo-static models of jointed rock

15.9.2 A very brief review of slip-interface, fracture network and poro-elastic crack models

15.9.3 Applications of Chapman model to Bluebell Altamont fractured gas reservoir

15.9.4 The SeisRox model

15.9.5 Numerical modelling of dynamic joint stiffness effects

15.9.6 A ‘sugar cube’ model representation

15.10 A porous and fractured physical model as a numerical model validation

16 Joint stiffness and compliance and the joint shearing mechanism

16.1 Some important non-linear joint and fracture behaviour modes

16.2 Aspects of fluid flow in deforming rock joints

16.2.1 Coupled stress-flow behaviour under normal closure

16.2.2 Coupled stress-flow behaviour under shear deformation

16.3 Some important details concerning rock joint stiffnesses Kn and Ks

16.3.1 Initial normal stiffness measured at low stress

16.3.2 Normal stiffness at elevated normal stress levels

16.4 Ratios of Kn over Ks under static and dynamic conditions

16.4.1 Frequency dependence of fracture normal stiffness

16.4.2 Ratios of static Kn to static Ks for different block sizes

16.4.3 Field measurements of compliance ZN

16.4.4 Investigation of normal and shear compliances on artificial surfaces in limestones

16.4.5 The Worthington-Lubbe-Hudson range of compliances

16.4.6 Pseudo-static stiffness data for clay filled discontinuities and major shear zones

16.4.7 Shear stress application may apparently affect compliance

16.5 Effect of dry or saturated conditions on shear and normal stiffnesses

16.5.1 Joint roughness coefficient (JRC)

16.5.2 Joint wall compression strength (JCS)

16.5.3 Basic friction angle f b and residual friction angle f r

16.5.4 Empirical equations for the shear behaviour of rock joints

16.6 Mechanical over-closure, thermal-closure, and joint stiffness modification

16.6.1 Normal stiffness estimation

16.6.2 Thermal over-closure of joints and some implications

16.6.3 Mechanical over-closure

16.7 Consequences of shear stress on polarization and permeability

16.7.1 Stress distribution caused by shearing joints, and possible consequences for shear wave splitting

16.7.2 The strength-deformation components of jointed rock masses

16.7.3 Permeability linked to joint shearing

16.7.4 Reservoir seismic case records with possible shearing

16.7.5 The apertures expected of highly stressed ‘open’ joints

16.7.6 Modelling apertures with the BB model

16.7.7 Open joints caused by anisotropic stress, low shear strength, dilation

16.8 Non-linear shear strength and the critical shearing crust

16.8.1 Non-linear strength envelopes and scale effects

16.9 Critically stressed open fractures that indicate conductivity

16.9.1 The JRC contribution at different scales and deformations

16.9.2 Does pre-peak or post-peak strength resist the assumed crustal shear stress?

16.10 Rotation of joint attributes and unequal conjugate jointing may explain azimuthal deviation of S-wave polarization

16.11 Classic stress transformation equations ignore the non-coaxiality of stress and displacement

16.12 Estimating shallow crustal permeability from a modified rock quality Q-water

16.12.1 The problem of clay-sealed discontinuities

17 Conclusions

Appendix A – The Qrock parameter ratings

The six parameters defined

Combination in pairs

Definitions of characterization and classification as used in rock engineering

Notes on Q-method of rock mass classification

Appendix B – A worked example



Colour Plates

About the Author

Nick Barton has over 40 years of international experience in rock engineering, and has been involved in numerous important and iconic tunnel, cavern and rock slope projects. He has developed many tools and methods, such as the widely used Q-system, for rock classification and support selection and the Barton-Bandis constitutive laws for rock joint computer modeling. He currently teaches at the University of São Paulo and manages an international consultancy (Nick Barton & Associates, São Paulo – Oslo).

Dr. Nick Barton was the 2011 recipient of the distinguished Müller Award, an award that honours the memory of Professor Leopold Müller, the founder of the ISRM (International Society of Rock Mechanics), and awarded in recognition of distinguished contributions to the profession of rock mechanics and rock engineering.

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