Exploration Geophysics Exploration Geophysics Society
Journal of the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Sensitivity of shale anisotropic parameters to core cutting rotation error

Shiguang Guo 1 Sumit Verma 2 Qing Wang 3 4 9 Fei Pang 5 Kui Zhang 6 Haifu Sun 7 Xiansheng Zhang 8
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA.

2 Department of Physical Sciences, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa, TX 79762, USA.

3 School of Information and Communication Engineering, Beijing Information Science and Technology University, Beijing 100101, China.

4 Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China.

5 Center of Oil and Gas Survey, China Geological Survey, Beijing 100029, China.

6 Bureau of Geophysical Prospecting, China National Petroleum Corporation, Zhuozhou, Hebei 072751, China.

7 Research Institute of Hengda Century Geophysics Technology Co., Ltd, Beijing 100020, China.

8 Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Production, Northwest Oilfield Branch Company, SINOPEC, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830011, China.

9 Corresponding author. Email: wangqing@mail.iggcas.ac.cn

Exploration Geophysics - https://doi.org/10.1071/EG16135
Submitted: 7 November 2016  Accepted: 5 October 2017   Published online: 30 November 2017


In laboratories, core cannot always be cut exactly along the axis of symmetry (normal to the bedding plane), which leads to a minor core cutting rotation (CCR) error. The presence of a small CCR error can give rise to an error in computation of anisotropic parameters, which will result in erroneous P-wave and S-wave velocities (VP, VSV and VSH). In this study, we test the sensitivity of Thomson’s anisotropic parameters, epsilon (ε), gamma (γ) and delta (δ), to the CCR error. In the vertical transverse isotropy (VTI) system where no rotation exists, values of ε, γ and δ will not vary with azimuth. Similarly, in VTI the values of VP, VSV and VSH, measured at orientations with respect to the axis of symmetry, will also not vary with azimuth. We modelled and analysed the error generated, in anisotropic parameters and phase velocities, due to rotation error of 5° on VTI ANNIE model data, and the Niobrara Shale core sample measurements. For these two cases, we obtained values of P-wave and S-wave velocities along with anisotropy parameters ε, γ and δ, at 0°, 45° and 90° orientations with respect to the axis of symmetry, before and after a rotation of 5°, for different azimuth directions. This study shows that, when the CCR error exists, ε, γ and δ vary with azimuth. For Niobrara Shale samples, we observed that, among all three Thomsen’s parameters δ is the most sensitive parameter to the CCR error; when we varied azimuth, we observed a sign change of δ from positive to negative. For ε and γ, variation in azimuth lead to only slight changes in values without any change of sign. The CCR error affects VP and Vs measurements the most at 45° orientation, and the least at 90° orientation. The maximum error occurred at 0° azimuth, whereas the minimum error occurs at 90° azimuth. This analysis suggests that, if core cutting rotation exists, phase velocities should be measured at 90° azimuth for accurate results.

Key words: anisotropy, cutting error, delta, shale, TTI.


Dellinger, J. A., 1991, Anisotropic seismic wave propagation: Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University.

Hornby, B. E., 1994. The elastic properties of shales: Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge.

Johnston, J. E., and Christensen, N. I., 1995, Seismic anisotropy of shales: Journal of Geophysical Research, 100, 5991–6003
Seismic anisotropy of shales:CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaK2MXmtF2gt78%3D&md5=f6e8a45c773c2635fd9fa2ce9e951579CAS |

Jones, L. E. A., and Wang, H. F., 1981, Ultrasonic velocities in Cretaceous shales from the Williston basin: Geophysics, 46, 288–297
Ultrasonic velocities in Cretaceous shales from the Williston basin:CrossRef |

Kostecki, A., 2011, Tilted transverse isotropy: Nafta-Gaz, LxvII, 769–776

Liu, X., 1994, Nonlinear elasticity, seismic anisotropy, and petrophysical properties of reservoir rocks: Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University.

Sayers, C. M., 2004, Seismic anisotropy of shales: what determines the sign of Thomsen’s delta parameter: 73rd Annual International Meeting, SEG, Expanded Abstracts, 103–106.

Schoenberg, M., Muir, F., and Sayers, C. M., 1996, Introducing ANNIE: A simple three-parameter anisotropic velocity model for shales: Journal of Seismic Exploration, 5, 35–49

Sondergeld, C. H., Rai, C. S., and Whidden, R. W., 2000, Ultrasonic measurement of anisotropy on the Kimmeridge Shale: 70th Annual International Meeting, SEG, Expanded Abstracts, 1858–1861.

Thomsen, L., 1986, Weak elastic anisotropy: Geophysics, 51, 1954–1966
Weak elastic anisotropy:CrossRef |

Wang, Q., Wang, Y., Guo, S. G., Xin, Z. T., and Liu, Z. W., 2015, The effect of shale properties on anisotropic brittleness criterion index from laboratory study: Journal of Geophysics and Engineering, 12, 866–874
The effect of shale properties on anisotropic brittleness criterion index from laboratory study:CrossRef |

Export Citation