Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The effects of fractures on the seismic velocity and attenuation of a rock are investigated using theoretical results and experimental data. Fractures in a rock mass influence the traveltimes and amplitudes of seismic waves that have propagated through them. The displacement discontinuity model, recently employed in fracture investigations, is modified to describe the effect of fractures on seismic-wave velocity and attenuation. This new model, the modified displacement discontinuity model (MDD), is formulated in a way analogous to transmission-line analysis. The fractures are treated as transmission lines for the passage of seismic waves. The MDD takes into consideration realistic fracture parameters which include the fracture length, the fractional area of a fracture surface in contact, and the nature of the infilling material. A single fracture of varying geometric and material properties is shown to affect dramatically the transmission properties of a propagating waveform, and hence the seismic velocity and attenuation. These effects have been shown to result in a frequency-dependent velocity and attenuation. The sensitivity of the fracture parameters to seismic-wave velocity and attenuation was investigated and interesting results were obtained. Fracture parameters used in designing experimental models consisting of synthetically manufactured cracks were fed into the MDD and a well-known crack model, Hudson's model, for comparison. Velocities as a function of the incident-wave angle were obtained from both numerical models and were compared with the results from the experimental modelling. For P waves, the MDD model results show better agreement with those of the experimental model for all crack densities investigated than those from Hudson's model.
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