Differentiating brittle and ductile rocks from surface seismic data is the key to efficient well location and completion. Brittleness average estimates based only on elastic parameters are easy to use but require empirical calibration. In contrast, brittleness index (BI) estimates are based on mineralogy laboratory measurements and, indeed, cannot be directly measured from surface seismic data. These two measures correlate reasonably well in the quartz-rich Barnett Shale, but they provide conflicting estimates of brittleness in the calcite-rich Viola, Forestburg, Upper Barnett, and Marble Falls limestone formations. Specifically, the BI accurately predicts limestone formations that form fracture barriers to be ductile, whereas the brittleness average does not. We used elemental capture spectroscopy and elastic logs measured in the same cored well to design a 2D to brittleness template. We computed and volumes through prestack seismic inversion and calibrate the results with the template from well logs. We then used microseismic event locations from six wells to calibrate our prediction, showing that most of the microseismic events occur in the brittle regions of the shale, avoiding more ductile shale layers and the ductile limestone fracture barriers. Our to brittleness template is empirical and incorporates basin- and perhaps even survey-specific correlations of mineralogy and elastic parameters through sedimentation, oxygenation, and diagenesis. We do not expect this specific template to be universally applicable in other mudstone rock basins; rather, we recommend interpreters generate similar site-specific templates from logs representative of their area, following the proposed workflow.
- Received October 10, 2013.
- Revision received March 8, 2014.
- Accepted April 6, 2014.