Geosciences Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 431–440 | Cite as

Quantitative analysis of resolution and smoothing effects of digital pore microstructures on numerical velocity estimation

  • Minhui Lee
  • Youngseuk KeehmEmail author
  • Dahee Song


Numerical estimation of physical properties from digital pore microstructures has drawn great attention and is being used for quantifying interrelation between various physical properties. The pore microstructures are commonly obtained by the X-ray microtomographic technique, which can give fairly accurate pore geometry. However, there is minor distortion due to the limited resolution or smoothing. This distortion can cause errors in estimating physical properties by pore-scale simulation techniques. Among the properties, seismic velocity would have relatively large errors since a small amount of change in grain contacts can cause significant over-estimation. In this paper, we analyzed the errors in seismic velocity by resolution and smoothing of pore geometry using three samples: an unconsolidated sand pack and two medium-porosity sandstones with different degrees of consolidation. As the resolution becomes poor, the calculated velocity increases linearly, while smoothing gives nonlinear trends; higher errors in the early stage of smoothing. As we expected, soft rocks have higher sensitivity, since the grain contacts are small and are sensitive to minor distortion. Within similar ranges, the resolution causes larger errors than smoothing. In addition, smoothing does not cause velocity over-estimation once the resolution becomes poor, while the resolution can create considerable errors in velocity even after significant smoothing. We conclude that the resolution should be considered in the first place when obtaining digital pore microstructures to minimize errors in velocity estimation. We can also suggest that a good care should be taken when applying smoothing filters, if a sample is suspected to be poorly-consolidated or to have high porosity.

Key words

numerical velocity estimation X-ray microtomography digital pore microstructure resolution smoothing 


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Copyright information

© The Association of Korean Geoscience Societies and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geoenvironmental SciencesKongju National UniversityGongjuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Soil and Groundwater Research DivisionNational Institute of Environmental ResearchIncheonRepublic of Korea

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