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Report No.
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Fluid flow and chemical transport in shallow and deep mudrocks being implicated by pore geometry and connectivity

Hu, Q.*; Wang, Q.*; Zhao, C.*; Zhang, T.*; Tachi, Yukio  ; Fukatsu, Yuta 

Fine-grained and clay-rich mudrocks play an important role in the long-term performance of a geological repository for storing high-level nuclear wastes and petroleum production in shale formations. However, low-permeability mudrocks whose pores are poorly interconnected are known to have anomalous diffusion properties that strongly impact long-term net diffusion. The complex pore structure involving predominantly nano-sized pore space is related to compaction and diagenesis from the maturation process of organic matter-rich mudrocks at deep depths, leading to a much smaller effective porosity which could be further partitioned by water- or oil-wet pore networks. Working with shallow clayey sediments of Wakkanai formation around Horonobe underground research center in Hokkaido of Japan and Opalinus clay of Mt. Terri Underground Research Laboratory in Switzerland, as well as various deep shales (Barnett, Eagle Ford and Wolfcamp from Texas, Bakken from North Dakota), using a wide range of sample sizes, this multi-approach and -scale work utilizes a complementary suite of approaches for pore structure characterization (e.g., helium pycnometry, mercury intrusion porosimetry, small angle/X-ray neutron scattering, field emission-scanning electron microscopy), gas diffusion and liquid (including water-, oil-, and bi-wetting) imbibition involving custom-designed tracer recipe followed with micro-scale mapping with laser ablation-ICP-MS. The experimental results show that deep mudrocks has a much smaller effective porosity than the total porosity (as a result of poor pore connectivity) and associated diffusion coefficient, and the effective porosity and diffusion coefficients are also dependent upon the sample sizes used in the measurement.

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