Modern Rock Physics – Challenges and Solutions

2021 Middle East and Africa Honorary Lecturer

Jack Dvorkin


It often appears that most questions in rock physics have been answered, and the only way to advance this science is by making it more complicated, be it by producing more and more involved mathematical models of elastic anisotropy usually not supported by data or delving into sophisticated poroelasticity where the number of inputs greatly exceeds anything experimentally available. Yet, by analyzing legacy or new laboratory and field data and/or asking new questions may generate tremendous opportunities for the emerging scientist. Seeing data with a fresh eye and coming up with such new questions is arguably the most difficult part of doing science. However, the return and satisfaction can be remarkable. Here we present a few examples of the aforementioned approach, including new laboratory measurements on the desert sand and tight gas sandstones, observations of failure in carbonate samples, and wireline gas shale data. We ask whether fundamental cross-property relations obtained at the laboratory or wireline spatial scales can be used in seismic data interpretation and offer some answers. Furthermore, we will address the issues of digital rock physics data acquisition and discuss whether and how these data can be exploited in the field. Finally, we will show how to embrace simplicity and how a basic scientific understanding of the nature of rock can be turned to practical advantages.


Discoveries from digital rock physics. Specific surface area versus porosity as computed on 27 subvolumes of 3D segmented digital volumes of Fontainebleau sandstone; Berea sandstone; and dune sand. A triangular (frown) pattern emerges with S increasing with increasing Ø in consolidated rock samples (Fountainebleau and Berea sandstones) and decreasing in granular unconsolidated sediment (dune sand).


Jack Dvorkin

Jack Dvorkin is the program leader of the Rock Science Program at the College of Petroleum Engineering and Geosciences at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He earned his PhD in Continuum Mechanics from Moscow State University in the USSR. Between 1989 and 2017, Jack worked at the Stanford Rock Physics Program. He has developed many of the rock physics theoretical models currently in use. Jack is an SEG Honorary Member and has published more than 170 technical papers, 5 books, and 9 U.S. patents. He has supervised more than 30 PhD and MS students. Jack’s current interests are in experimental and theoretical rock physics; wireline data analysis for predictive analytical models; seismic data interpretation for physical properties of the subsurface; and digital rock physics.


Please check back soon for lecture locations and times.


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