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How permeable are clays and shales?

February 1, 1994

The permeability of argillaceous formations, although rarely measured and poorly understood, is commonly a critical parameter in analyses of subsurface flow. Data now available suggest a regular relation between permeability and porosity in clays and shales and permeabilities that, even at large scales, are significantly lower than usually assumed. Permeabilities between 10−23and 10−17 m2 have been obtained at porosities between 0.1 and 0.4 in both laboratory and regional studies. Although it is clear that transmissive fractures or other heterogeneities control the large-scale hydraulic behavior of certain argillaceous units, the permeability of many others is apparently scale independent. These results have significant implications for understanding fluid transport rates and abnormal pressure generation in basins, and could prove important for waste isolation efforts.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1994
Title How permeable are clays and shales?
DOI 10.1029/93WR02930
Authors C. E. Neuzil
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water Resources Research
Index ID 70187460
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse

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