Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 171, Issue 7, pp 1187–1201 | Cite as

A Poroelastic Description of Permeability Evolution

  • Alireza Hassanzadegan
  • Günter Zimmermann


Pore pressure changes in a geothermal reservoir, as a result of injection and/or production of water, result in changes of stress acting on the reservoir rock and, consequently, changes in the mechanical and transport properties of the rock. Bulk modulus and permeability were measured at different pressures and temperatures. An outcropping equivalent of Rotliegend reservoir rock in the North German Basin (Flechtinger sandstone) was used to perform hydrostatic tests and steady state fluid flow tests. Permeability measurements were conducted while cycling confining pressure; the dependence of permeability on stress was determined at a constant downstream pressure of 1 MPa. Also, temperature was increased stepwise from 30 to 140 °C and crack porosity was calculated at different temperatures. Although changes in the volumes of cracks are not significant, the cracks control fluid flow pathways and, consequently, the permeability of the rock. A new model was derived which relates microstructure of porosity, the stress–strain curve, and permeability. Porosity change was described by the first derivative of the stress–strain curve. Permeability evolution was ascribed to crack closure and was related to the second derivative of the stress–strain curve. The porosity and permeability of Flechtinger sandstone were reduced by increasing the effective pressure and decreased after each pressure cycle.


Permeability aspect ratio distribution crack closure poroelasticity 



The authors would like to gratitude Liane Liebeskind for Laboratory assistance. Moreover, the authors would like to thank the reviewers for their constructive and valuable comments that helped to improve the manuscript. This work has been performed in the framework of the GeoEn-Phase 2 project and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research [BMBF, 03G0767A].


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (GFZ)German Research Centre for GeosciencesPotsdamGermany

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