Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 51, Issue 11, pp 3395–3406 | Cite as

Acoustic Emission Response of Laboratory Hydraulic Fracturing in Layered Shale

  • Ning Li
  • Zhang Shicheng 
  • Yushi ZouEmail author
  • Xinfang Ma
  • Zhaopeng Zhang
  • Sihai Li
  • Ming Chen
  • Yueyue Sun
Original Paper


Understanding the generation process of complex fracture network is essential for optimizing the hydraulic fracturing strategy in shale formations. In this study, laboratory fracturing was performed on shale specimens containing multiple bedding planes (BPs) combined with acoustic emission (AE) monitoring and computerized tomography scanning techniques. The injection pressure curve and the time dependency and hypocenter mechanisms of AE events in different stages were analyzed in detail. The relationship between AE spatial localization and hydraulically connected region were then further quantitatively discussed. Experimental results show that the characteristics of the pressure curve and AE response reflect well the hydraulic fracture (HF) growth behavior in layered shale. Shear events were detected around some weak BPs far away from the wellbore before the HF initiation. Stable injection pressure and a few AE events with low amplitude along the BP may indicate the stage of fluid leak-off. Numerous shear and tensile AE events and drastic pressure changes occur during the generation of a fracture network including breakdown in rock matrix and activation of multiple BPs. The shear instability of weak BPs caused by the stress perturbation during pressurization and HF growth tends to result in overestimation of the effective stimulated reservoir volume/hydraulically connected region.


Hydraulic fracturing Complex fracture network Dynamic growth Acoustic emission Hypocenter mechanism 


\({\sigma _{\text{h}}}\)

Horizontal minimum principal stress

\({\sigma _{\text{H}}}\)

Horizontal maximum principal stress

\({\sigma _{\text{v}}}\)

Vertical stress


Injection rate


Fluid viscosity


Proportion of dilatational first motions


Injection time


Accumulative number of AE events


Stimulated reservoir volume


Effective stimulated reservoir volume


Accuracy rate of estimation



This paper was supported by the Major National Science and Technology Projects of China (No. 2016ZX05046-004; No. 2017ZX05039002-003), the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2015CB250903) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51704305).


  1. Agarwal K, Mayerhofer M, Warpinski N (2012) Impact of geomechanics on microseismicity. In: SPE European unconventional resources conference and exhibition, Society of Petroleum EngineersGoogle Scholar
  2. Barree RD, Conway MW, Gilbert JV, Woodroof RA (2010) Evidence of strong fracture height containment based in complex shear failure and formation anisotropy. In: SPE annual conference and exhibition, Society of Petroleum EngineersGoogle Scholar
  3. Bennour Z, Ishida T, Nagaya Y, Chen YQ, Nara Y, Chen Q, Sekine K, Nagano Y (2015) Crack extension in hydraulic fracturing of shale cores using viscous oil, water, and liquid carbon dioxide. Rock Mech Rock Eng 48:1463–1473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cipolla CL, Warpinski NR, Mayerhofer MJ, Lolon EP (2008) The relationship between fracture complexity, reservoir properties, and fracture treatment design. SPE Prod Oper 25(4):438–452Google Scholar
  5. Frash L, Gutierrez M, Hampto J (2013) Scale model simulation of hydraulic fracturing for EGS reservoir creation using a heated true-triaxial apparatus. In: ISRM international conference for effective and sustainable hydraulic fracturing, International Society for Rock MechanicsGoogle Scholar
  6. Hampton J, Frash L, Gutierrez M (2013) Investigation of laboratory hydraulic fracture source mechanisms using acoustic emission. In: 47th US rock mechanics/geomechanics symposium, American Rock Mechanics AssociationGoogle Scholar
  7. Hampton J, Gutierrez M, Matzar L (2017) Damage characterization due to microcracking near coalesced hydraulic fractures with acoustic emission. In: 51th US rock mechanics/geomechanics symposium, American Rock Mechanics AssociationGoogle Scholar
  8. Hou B, Chen M, Tan P, Li D (2015) Monitoring of hydraulic fracture network by acoustic emission method in simulated tri-axial fracturing system of shale gas reservoirs. J China Univ Pet 39(1):66–71Google Scholar
  9. Hu X, Wu K, Song X, Yu W, Tang J, Li G, Shen Z (2018a) A new model for simulating particle transport in a low-viscosity fluid for fluid-driven fracturing. AIChE J. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hu X, Wu K, Li G, Tang J, Shen Z (2018b) Effect of proppant addition schedule on the proppant distribution in a straight fracture for slickwater treatment. J Pet Sci Eng 167:110–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ishida T, Chen Q, Mizuta Y (1997) Effect of injected water on hydraulic fracturing deduced from acoustic emission monitoring. Pure Appl Geophys 150(3–4):627–646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ishida T, Aoyagi K, Niwa T, Chen Y, Murata S, Chen Q, Nakayama Y (2012) Acoustic emission monitoring of hydraulic fracturing laboratory experiment with supercritical and liquid CO2. Geophys Res Lett 39:L16309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ishida T, Nagaya Y, Inui S, Aoyagi K, Nara Y, Chen Y, Chen Q, Nakayama Y (2013) AE monitoring of hydraulic fracturing experiments with CO2 and water. In: Proceedings of Eurock2013, Wroclaw, pp 957–962Google Scholar
  14. Ishida T, Labuz JF, Manthei G, Meredith PG, Nasseri MHB, Shin K, Yokoyama T, Zang A (2017) ISRM suggested method for laboratory acoustic emission monitoring. Rock Mech Rock Eng 50:665–674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ito K, Kuriki H, Kuroda S, Enoki M (2014) Automatic event detection in noisy environment foe material process monitoring by laser AE method. J Phys Conf Ser 520(1):562–565Google Scholar
  16. King GE, Haile L, Jim S, Dobkins TA (2008) Increasing fracture path complexity and controlling downward fracture growth in the Barnett shale. In: SPE gas production conference, Society of Petroleum EngineersGoogle Scholar
  17. King MS, Pettitt WS, Haycox JR, Young RP (2012) Acoustic emissions associated with the formation of fracture sets in sandstone under polyaxial stress conditions. Geophys Prospect 60:93–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lei XL, Nishizawa O, Kusunose K, Satoh T (1992) Fractal structure of the hypocenter distributions and focal mechanism solutions of acoustic emission in two granites of different grain sizes. J Phys Earth 40(6):617–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lei XL, Kusunose K, Rao MVMS, Nishizawa O, Satoh T (2001) Quasi-static fault growth and cracking in homogeneous brittle rock under triaxial compression using acoustic emission monitoring. J Geophys Res 105(B3):6127–6139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li H, Zou YS, Valko PP, Economides C (2016) Hydraulic fracture height predictions in laminated shale formations using finite element discrete element method. In: SPE hydraulic fracturing technology conference, Society of Petroleum EngineersGoogle Scholar
  21. Li N, Zhang SC, Ma XF, Zou YS, Chen M, Li SH, Zhang YN (2017) Experimental study on the propagation mechanism of hydraulic fracture in glutenite formations. Chin J Rock Mechan Eng 36(10):2383–2392Google Scholar
  22. Li N, Zhang SC, Zou YS, Ma XF, Wu S, Zhang YN (2018) Experimental analysis of hydraulic fracture growth and acoustic emission response in a layered formation. Rock Mech Rock Eng 51(4):1047–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu YZ, Cui MY, Ding YH, Peng Y, Fu HF, Lu YJ, Liu YZ (2013) Experimental investigation of hydraulic fracture propagation in acoustic monitoring inside a large-scale polyaxial test. In: International petroleum technology conference, Society of Petroleum EngineersGoogle Scholar
  24. Liu YZ, Fu HF, Ding YH, Lu YJ, Wang X, Liang TC (2014) Large scale experimental simulation and analysis of interlayer stress difference effect on hydraulic fracture extension. Oil Drill Prod Technol 36(4):88–92Google Scholar
  25. Lockner D, Byerlee JD (1977) Hydrofracture in Weber sandstone at high confining pressure and differential stress. J Geophys Res Atmos 82(14):2018–20265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ma XF, Li N, Yin CB, Li YC, Zou YS, Wu S, He F, Wang XQ, Zhou T (2017) Hydraulic fracture propagation geometry and acoustic emission interpretation: a case study of Silurian Longmaxi Formation shale in Sichuan Basin, China. Pet Explor Dev 44(6):1030–1037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Maxwell SC, Urbancic TI, Steinsberger N, Zinno R (2002) Microseismic imaging of hydraulic fracture complexity in the Barnett shale. In: SPE annual technical conference and exhibition, Society of Petroleum EngineersGoogle Scholar
  28. Mayerhofer MJ, Lolon E, Warpinski NR, Cipolla CL, Walser DW, Rightmire CM (2010) What is stimulated reservoir volume? SPE Prod Oper 25(1):89–98Google Scholar
  29. Ohtsu M (1991) Simplified moment tensor analysis and unified decomposition of acoustic emission source: application to in situ hydrofracturing test. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 96(B4):6211–6221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sakaguchi K, Tomono J, Okumura K, Ogawa Y, Matsuki K (2008) Asperity height and aperture of an artificial tensile fracture of metric size. Rock Mech Rock Eng 41(2):325–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stanchits S, Fortin J, Gueguen Y, Dresen G (2009) Initiation and propagation of compaction bands in dry and wet Bentheim sandstone. Pure appl Geophys 166(5):843–868CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stanchits S, Mayr S, Shapiro S, Dresen G (2011) Fracturing of porous rock induced by fluid injection. Tectonophysics 503(1–2):129–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stanchits S, Surdi A, Edelman E, Suarez-Rivera R (2012) Acoustic emission and ultrasonic transmission monitoring of hydraulic fracture propagation in heterogeneous rock samples. In: 46th US rock mechanics/geomechanics symposium, American Rock Mechanics AssociationGoogle Scholar
  34. Stanchits S, Burghardt J, Surdi A (2015) Hydraulic fracturing of heterogeneous rock monitored by acoustic emission. Rock Mech Rock Eng 48(6):2513–2527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tang J, Wu K (2018) A 3-D model for simulation of weak interface slippage for fracture height containment in shale reservoirs. Int J Solids Struct 144–145:248–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tang J, Wu K, Li Y, Hu X, Liu Q, Ehlig-Economides C (2018a) Numerical investigation of the interactions between hydraulic fracture and bedding planes with non-orthogonal approach angle. Eng Fract Mech. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tang J, Wu K, Zeng B, Huang H, Hu X, Guo X, Zuo L (2018b) Investigate effects of weak bedding interfaces on fracture geometry in unconventional reservoirs. J Petrol Sci Eng 165:992–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tong SY, Mohanty KK (2016) Proppant transport study in fractures with intersections. Fuel 181:463–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Warpinski NR, Mayerhofer M, Agarwal K, Du J (2013) Hydraulic-fracture geomechanics and microseismic -source mechanisms. SPE J 18(4):766–780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wu S, Ge HK, Wang XQ, Meng FB (2017) Shale failure processes and spatial distribution of fractures obtained by AE monitoring. J Nat Gas Sci Eng 41:82–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yoon J-S, Zimmermann G, Zang A (2015) Discrete element modeling of cyclic rate fluid injection at multiple locations in naturally fractured reservoirs. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 74:15–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zang A, Wagner FC, Stanchits S, Dresen G, Andresen R, Haidekker M (1998) Source analysis of acoustic emissions in Aue granite cores under symmetric and asymmetric compressive loads. Geophys J Int 135:1113–1130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zang A, Wagner FC, Stanchits S, Janssen C, Dresen G (2000) Fracture process zone in granite. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 105(B10):23651–23661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zhou T, Zhang SC, Feng Y, Shuai YY, Zou YS, Li N (2016a) Experimental study of permeability characteristics for the cemented natural fractures of the shale gas formation. J Nat Gas Sci Eng 29:345–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zhou T, Zhang SC, Zou YS, Ma XF, Li Ning, Hao SY, Zheng YH (2016b) A study of hydraulic fracture geometry concerning complex geologic condition in shales. In: IPTC international petroleum technology conferenceGoogle Scholar
  46. Zoback MD, Rummel F, Jung R, Raleigh CB (1977) Laboratory hydraulic fracturing experiments in intact and pre-fractured rock. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 14(2):49–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zou YS, Ma XF, Zhang SC, Zhou T, Ehlig-Economides C, Li H (2015) The origins of low-fracture conductivity in soft shale formations: an experimental study. Energy Technol 3(12):1233–1242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zou YS, Zhang SC, Zhou T, Zhou X, Guo TK (2016a) Experimental investigation into hydraulic fracture network propagation in gas shales using CT scanning technology. Rock Mech Rock Eng 49(1):33–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zou YS, Ma XF, Zhang SC, Zhou T, Li H (2016b) Numerical investigation into the Influence of bedding plane on hydraulic fracture network propagation in shale formations. Rock Mech Rock Eng 49(9):3597–3614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zou YS, Ma XF, Zhou T, Li N, Chen M, Li SH, Zhang YN, Li H (2017) Hydraulic fracture growth in a layered formation based on fracturing experiments and discrete element modeling. Rock Mech Rock Eng 50:2381–2395CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.China University of PetroleumBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Petroleum Resource and ProspectingChina University of PetroleumBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations