Permeability of illite-bearing shale: 1. Anisotropy and effects of clay content and loading Academic Article uri icon


  • Permeability of illite-rich shale recovered from the Wilcox formation and saturated with 1 M NaCl solution varies from 3 10 -22 to 3 10-19 m2, depending on flow direction relative to bedding, clay content (40-65%), and effective pressure Pe (2-12 MPa). Permeability k is anisotropic at low Pe; measured k values for flow parallel to bedding at Pe = 3 MPa exceed those for flow perpendicular to bedding by a factor of 10, both for low clay content (LC) and high clay content (HC) samples. With increasing Pe, k becomes increasingly isotropic, showing little directional dependence at 10-12 MPa. Permeability depends on clay content; k measured for LC samples exceed those of HC samples by a factor of 5. Permeability decreases irreversibly with the application of Pe, following a cubic law of the form k = k0 [1 - (Pe/P1) m]3, where k0 varies over 3 orders of magnitude, depending on orientation and clay content, m is dependent only on orientation (equal to 0.166 for bedding-parallel flow and 0.52 for flow across bedding), and P1 (18-27 MPa) appears to be similar for all orientations and clay contents. Anisotropy and reductions in permeability with Pe are attributed to the presence of crack-like voids parallel to bedding and their closure upon loading, respectively. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Kwon, O., Kronenberg, A. K., Gangi, A. F., Johnson, B., & Herbert, B. E.

citation count

  • 194

complete list of authors

  • Kwon, O||Kronenberg, AK||Gangi, AF||Johnson, B||Herbert, BE

publication date

  • October 2004