Sonic waveforms acquired in gas-hydrate-bearing sediments indicate strong amplitude loss associated with an increase in sonic velocity. Because the gas hydrate increases sonic velocities, the amplitude loss has been interpreted as due to intrinsic attenuation caused by the gas hydrate in the pore space, which apparently contradicts conventional wave propagation theory. For a sonic source in a fluid-filled borehole, the signal amplitude transmitted into the formation depends on the physical properties of the formation, including any pore contents, in the immediate vicinity of the source. A signal in acoustically fast material, such as gas-hydrate-bearing sediments, has a smaller amplitude than a signal in acoustically slower material. Therefore, it is reasonable to interpret the amplitude loss in the gas-hydrate-bearing sediments in terms of source coupling to the surrounding medium as well as intrinsic attenuation. An analysis of sonic waveforms measured at the Mallik 5L-38 well, Northwest Territories, Canada, indicates that a significant part of the sonic waveform's amplitude loss is due to a source-coupling effect. All amplitude analyses of sonic waveforms should include the effect of source coupling in order to accurately characterize the formation's intrinsic attenuation.
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Is amplitude loss of sonic waveforms due to intrinsic attenuation or source coupling to the medium?