Interpretation of well logs in a carbonate aquifer

Water-Resources Investigations Report 78-88




This report describes the log analysis of the Randolph and Sabial core holes in the Edwards aquifer in Texas, with particular attention to the principles that can be applied generally to any carbonate system. The geologic and hydrologic data were obtained during the drilling of the two holes, from extensive laboratory analysis of the cores, and from numerous geophysical logs run in the two holes. Some logging methods are inherently superiors to others for the analysis of limestone and dolomite aquifers. Three such systems are the dentistry, neutron, and acoustic-velocity (sonic) logs. Most of the log analysis described here is based on the interpretation of suites of logs from these three systems. In certain instances, deeply focused resistivity logs can be used to good advantage in carbonate rock studies; this technique is used to computer the water resistivity in the Randolph core hole. The rocks penetrated by the Randolph core hole are typical of those carbonates that have undergone very little solution by recent ground-water circulation. There are few large solutional openings; the water is saline; and the rocks are dark, dolomitic, have pore space that is interparticle or intercrystalline, and contain unoxidized organic material. The total porosity of rocks in the saline zone is higher than that of rocks in the fresh-water aquifer; however, the intrinsic permeability is much less in the saline zone because there are fewer large solutional openings. The Sabinal core hole penetrates a carbonate environment that has experienced much solution by ground water during recent geologic time. The rocks have high secondary porosities controlled by sedimentary structures within the rock; the water is fresh; and the dominant rock composition is limestone. The relative percentages of limestone and dolomite, the average matrix (grain) densities of the rock mixtures , and the porosity of the rock mass can be calculated from density, neutron, and acoustic logs. With supporting data from resistivity logs, the formation water quality can be estimated, as well as the relative cementation or tortuosity of the rock. Many of these properties calculated from logs can be verified by analysis of the core available from test holes drilled in the saline and fresh water zones.

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Interpretation of well logs in a carbonate aquifer
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey
iv, 30 p.
United States