Permeability and permeability anisotropy in Crab Orchard sandstone: experimental insights into spatio-temporal effects

Stephan Gehne, Philip M. Benson

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Permeability in tight crustal rocks is primarily controlled by the connected porosity, shape and orientation of microcracks, the preferred orientation of cross-bedding, and sedimentary features such as layering. This leads to a significant permeability anisotropy. Less well studied, however, are the effects of time and stress recovery on the evolution of the permeability hysteresis which is becoming increasingly important in areas ranging from fluid migration in ore-forming processes to enhanced resource extraction. Here, we report new data simulating spatio-temporal permeability changes induced using effective pressure, simulating burial depth, on a tight sandstone (Crab Orchard). We find an initially (measured at 5 MPa) anisotropy of 2.5% in P-wave velocity and 180% in permeability anisotropy is significantly affected by the direction of the effective pressure change and cyclicity; anisotropy values decrease to 1% and 10% respectively after 3 cycles to 90 MPa and back. Furthermore, we measure a steadily increasing recovery time (10–20 min) for flow parallel to cross-bedding, and a far slower recovery time (20–50 min) for flow normal to cross-bedding. These data are interpreted via strain anisotropy and accommodation models, similar to the “seasoning” process often used in dynamic reservoir extraction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589–599
Early online date17 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2017


  • velocity and permeability anisotropy in Crab Orchard sandstone
  • time dependent permeability recovery
  • stress path dependent permeability recovery
  • initial pressure cysles dictate the subsequent recoverability
  • anisotropy of permeability, strain, and P-wave elastic velocity
  • RCUK
  • NERC


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