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A primary thrust in this research area of the Fundamental & Exploratory Research (FER) Program in the Earth Sciences Division (ESD) at LBNL, conducted through the Berkeley Lab Center for Computational Seismology (CCS), has been to jointly develop seismic and electrical methods for understanding fluid flow and properties within the subsurface. In addition, fundamental studies on improved inversion and modeling of complex media in 3-D are being carried out to analyze such effects as matrix heterogeneity fluid flow and anisotropy. Applications range from small-scale environmental problems to oil and gas reservoirs.
In addition, a variety of rock and soil science experiments are being conducted through ESD’s Geoscience Measurements Facility, which supports both field and laboratory work. In one new laboratory project, researchers are studying the compaction and fracturing of weakly cemented granular rocks. This study examines the effect of micromechanical properties of weak granular rock on macroscopic properties such as load-displacement response, ultimate strength, and failure mode. In a second study, a fundamental investigation of scattering and intrinsic attenuation of seismic waves in rock with heterogeneous distributions of fluids and gas is being conducted.