Petrophysical properties of the Muschelkalk from the Soultz-sous-Forêts geothermal site (France), an important lithostratigraphic unit for geothermal exploitation in the Upper Rhine Graben

9 Oct 2019, 09:00
KIT - AudiMax (Karlsruhe)

KIT - AudiMax


Karlsruhe Institute of Technology South Campus Forum-Hörsaal AudiMax, Blg. 30.95 Strasse am Forum 1 76131 Karlsruhe Germany


Dr. Michael Heap (IPG Strasbourg)


The Muschelkalk, composed of Triassic limestones, marls, dolomites, and evaporites, forms part of the Permo-Triassic cover of sedimentary rocks that directly overlies the fractured granitic reservoir used for geothermal energy exploitation in the Upper Rhine Graben. Petrophysical data for this lithostratigraphic unit are sparse, but are of value for reservoir prospection, stimulation, and optimisation strategies at existing and prospective geothermal sites throughout the Upper Rhine Graben. To this end, we present here a systematic microstructural, mineralogical, and petrophysical characterisation of the Muschelkalk core (from the Middle to Lower Muschelkalk; from a depth of ∼930 to ∼1001 m) from exploration borehole EPS-1 at Soultz-sous-Forêts (France). First, we assessed the microstructure and mineral content of samples from six depths that we consider represent the variability of the available core. The majority of the core is composed of fine-grained, interbedded dolomites and marls; however, anhydrite and a dolomitic sandstone bank were found in the Upper and Lower Muschelkalk core, respectively. A larger suite of samples (from fifteen depths, including the six depths chosen for microstructural and mineral content analysis) were then characterised in terms of their petrophysical properties. The matrix porosity of the measured Muschelkalk samples is low, from ~0.01 to ~0.1, and their matrix permeability is below the resolution of our permeameter (<< 10-18 m2). P-wave velocity, thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, specific heat capacity, Young’s modulus, and uniaxial compressive strength range from 2.60 to 5.37 km/s, 2.42 to 5.72 W/mK, 1.19 to 2.46 mm2/s, 1.63 to 2.46 MJ/m3K, 9.4 to 39.5 GPa, and 55.1 to 257.6 MPa, respectively. Therefore, and despite the narrow range of porosity, the petrophysical properties of the Muschelkalk are highly variable. We compare these new data with those recently acquired for the Buntsandstein unit (the Permo-Triassic unit immediately below the Muschelkalk) and thus provide an overview of the petrophysical properties of the two sedimentary units that directly overly the fractured granitic reservoir.

Primary authors

Dr. Michael Heap (IPG Strasbourg) Dr. Alexandra Kushnir (IPG Strasbourg) Prof. H. Albert Gilg (TU Munich) Dr. Marie Violay (EPFL) Ms. Pauline Harlé (IPG Strasbourg) Prof. Patrick Baud (IPG Strasbourg)

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