Magnetic Susceptibility: Correlations with Clay Content and Apparent Diffusion Coefficients Controlling Electrical Double Layer Polarization

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Clay content and mineralogy play a critical role in determining the spectral induced polarization (SIP) response in soils and rocks. Clay minerals enhance the induced polarization response of soils due to an increase in the mineral surface area. Traditionally, x-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques are used to determine clay content, requiring intact samples to be ground into powder. Magnetic susceptibility (MS) measurements have previously been used to estimate clay content of samples when paramagnetic clays (e.g. illite and chlorite) dominate the response. Building on this work, this study assumes that sandstone samples from two lithologic formations could be approximated as a simple mixture of diamagnetic quartz and a paramagnetic component. Paramagnetic susceptibility is assumed proportional to iron content and thus to the iron bearing clays that control the susceptibility response. Fractions of iron rich clay components were determined with XRD and the volume magnetic susceptibility values of these clays were used to estimate clay content. We evaluated these clay content estimates with SIP measurements (imaginary conductivity magnitude and characteristic time constant (tau)) and properties related to fluid flow, including permeability and pore normalized surface area (Spor). A recently proposed SIP permeability model that uses a single value of the diffusion coefficient for clays and sands was evaluated to see whether apparent diffusion coefficients are correlated with magnetic susceptibility. Our findings show that MS can be helpful in rapidly determining clay content and also brings insight into the effect of paramagnetic clays on SIP measurements.

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Presented at the AGU Fall Meeting on December 14, 2016 in San Francisco, CA