Hydraulic Fracturing of Heterogeneous Rock Monitored by Acoustic Emission

Sergey Stanchits, Jeffrey Burghardt, Aniket Surdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the results of laboratory studies of hydraulic fracture in homogeneous sandstone blocks with man-made interfaces and heterogeneous shale blocks with weak natural interfaces are reported. Tests were conducted under similar stress conditions, with fluids of different viscosity and at different injection rates. The measurements and analysis allows the identification of fracture initiation and behavior. Fracturing with high-viscosity fluids resulted in stable fracture propagation initiated before breakdown, while fracturing with low-viscosity fluids resulted in unstable fracture propagation initiated almost simultaneously with breakdown. Analysis also allows us to measure the fluid volume entering the fracture and the fracture volume. Monitoring of acoustic emission hypocenter localizations, indicates the development of created fractured area including the intersection with interfaces, fluid propagation along interfaces, crossing interfaces, and approaching the boundaries of the block. We observe strong differences in hydraulic fracture behavior, fracture geometry and fracture propagation speed, when fracturing with water and high-viscosity fluids. We also observed distinct differences between sandstone blocks and shale blocks, when a certain P-wave velocity ray path is intersected by the hydraulic fracture. The velocity increases in sandstones and decreases in shale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2513-2527
Number of pages15
JournalRock Mechanics and Rock Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic emission
  • Cracking
  • Fracture initiation
  • Hydraulic fracturing


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