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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Riverside, California » U.S. Salinity Laboratory » Contaminant Fate and Transport Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #326322

Research Project: Effects of Agricultural Water Management and Land Use Practices on Regional Water Quality

Location: Contaminant Fate and Transport Research

Title: Quantifying tight-gas sandstone permeability via critical path analysis

Author
item Ghanbarian, Behzad - University Of Texas
item Torres-verdin, Carlos - University Of Texas
item Skaggs, Todd

Submitted to: Advances in Water Resources
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2016
Publication Date: 4/26/2016
Citation: Ghanbarian, B., Torres-Verdin, C., Skaggs, T.H. 2016. Quantifying tight-gas sandstone permeability via critical path analysis. Advances in Water Resources. 92:316-322. doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2016.04.015.

Interpretive Summary: The permeability of a rock is a measure of the rate that water can flow through it. Rock permeability is an important factor in determining how water and chemicals are stored and move in groundwater aquifers and the subsurface environment. Scientists have long sought to understand how different arrangements of pores in rock can lead to different permeabilities. In this work, we compared laboratory measurements of rock permeability and electrical conductivity with several different theoretical models that attempt to predict those properties based on statisitical information about the arrangement of pores. The research will benefit scientists investigating the permeability of geological materials and their impact on critical hydrological processes.

Technical Abstract: Rock permeability has been actively investigated over the past several decades by the geosciences community. However, its accurate estimation still presents significant technical challenges, especially in spatially complex rocks. In this letter, we apply critical path analysis (CPA) to estimate permeability in porous rocks from measured mercury intrusion porosimetry and electrical conductivity data. Theoretical estimations of various CPA-based models are then compared to experimental measurements using eighteen tight-gas sandstones. Except for two of the samples, we find permeability estimations performed with the Skaggs model (assuming pore diameter independent of its length) more accurate than other models, within a factor of two of the measured permeabilities. We discuss some plausible sources of the uncertainties.