The effect of single-phase fluid saturation on the seismic bulk modulus of a rock is well understood; however, the behavior becomes more complex when multiple fluids are present. Several fluid mixing theories have been developed (e.g., Voigt, Reuss, and Hill) and each is valid in certain situations; however, in some scenarios it is unclear which theory to select, or indeed whether any are accurate. The critical wave propagation behavior depends on the manner that fluids are spatially distributed within the rock, compared to a seismic wavelength. We apply elastic finite-difference modeling to different rock-fluid distribution scenarios and replicate behavior described by various theoretical, empirical and lab data results. Significantly, our results compare well with observations from lab experiments, yet do not rely on poroelastic or squirt-flow models whose parameters are difficult to estimate in real reservoir settings. Our elastic scattering approach is less computationally expensive than poroelastic modeling and can be more easily applied to actual reservoir rock and fluid distributions. Our results provide us with a powerful new tool to analyze and predict the effects of multiple fluids and ‘patchy’ saturation on elastic moduli and seismic velocities. They also challenge assumptions about the controlling factors on saturated bulk moduli, suggesting they are more strongly affected by the spatial fluid distribution properties and wave scattering, than by pore-scale fluid flow effects.
Seismic methods have the benefit of being noninvasive while providing continuous field-scale (hundreds of meters) information on subsurface characteristics of permafrost-affected soils. Imaging approaches based on surface wave propagation (e.g. MASW) are effective when characterizaing near-surface permafrost alteration (e.g. active zone freeze/thaw cycles) for at least two reasons: (1) energetic propagations within the top 10s of meters of the subsurface; (2) its direct indications on shear wave velocity, a sensitive indicator of soil matrix properties. We present a four-phase rock physics model developed for mapping frozen soil material properties to seismic observables. We predict seasonal variations in P- and S-wave velocities from the rock physics model based on existing in situ ground temperature measurements. We also conduct numerical simulations of seismic wave propagations based upon velocity models derived from rock physics model predictions. Surface wave dispersion analysis results generated from the resultant synthetic seismograms show that seismic methods, especially surface-wave-based approaches, are very promising approaches for delineating subsurface features in permafrost environments such as active layer thickness (ALT) variations, ice saturation, unfrozen water content, and soil texture, etc.