Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Shale Compaction Kinetics

Version 1 : Received: 13 October 2020 / Approved: 14 October 2020 / Online: 14 October 2020 (10:47:42 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 29 November 2020 / Approved: 1 December 2020 / Online: 1 December 2020 (09:24:32 CET)

How to cite: Smith, J.; Smith-Rowland, E. Shale Compaction Kinetics. Preprints 2020, 2020100299. Smith, J.; Smith-Rowland, E. Shale Compaction Kinetics. Preprints 2020, 2020100299.


1 Abstract The grain-to-grain stress vertically in sediments is given by the overburden less the pore fluid pressure, σ, divided by the fraction of the horizontal area which is the supporting matrix , (1 − φ), φ being the porosity. It is proposed that the fractional reduction of this ratio, Λ, with time is given by the product of φ 4m/3) , (1 − φ) 4n/3 , and one or more Arrhenius functions A exp(−E/RT ) with m and n close to 1. This proposal is tested for shale sections in six wells from around the world for which porosity-depth data are available. Good agreement is obtained above 30-40 C. A single activation energy of 23+-5 kJ/mole, indicating pressure solution of quartz, 24 kJ/mol, was obtained. The average value of m is 1, indicating fractal pore-matrix spaces and water-wet interfaces. Grain-to -grain interfaces may be fractal with m close to 1, but can have lower values suggesting smooth surfaces and even grain-to-grain welding. Results are independent of over- or under-pressure of pore water. This model explains shale compaction quantitatively.


shale compaction, kinetics, activation energy, pore interfaces, grain interfaces, fractals


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Geology

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