Thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface in southern Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale (EFS) is one of the world’s largest sources of oil and was recently visualized by Princeton University researchers Catherine Peters and Julie Kim in conjunction with the EarthCube-supported Digital Rocks Visualization Challenge. Awarded first place in the Challenge’s static image category, the Princeton visualization showcased a “Smart Mineral Mapper” that used a Digital Rocks dataset of the EFS that encompassed synchrotron-based element and mineral maps. This type of rock characterization can tell researchers about the reactivity of the surface or the nature of fluid-fluid displacement, which play a major role in subsurface applications such as carbon-dioxide sequestration or the flow or displacement of hydrocarbon and water within.
“The task of the Visualization Challenge was to reuse any three-dimensional dataset from our Digital Rocks portal to create a static image, video, or 3-D printed visualization,” said Masa Prodanovic, Digital Rocks Portal principal investigator and associate professor of petroleum and geosystems engineering at the University of Texas Austin. “We thank our sponsors: South Big Data Innovation Hub (main sponsor), Object Research Systems (“Enchanted Rock” premium sponsor), Kitware (“Town Mountain Granite” sponsor), and Dassault Systèmes (“Austin Chalk” sponsor) for their support and cash prizes for the participants.”
Additional winners (and in multiple other categories) of the Digital Rocks Visualization Challenge can be found here and here. Before the visualization challenge took place, Prodanovic and collaborator James McClure have held a porous media data and visualization mini-course, and related Jupyter notebooks and video are available on this GitHub.
The Digital Rocks is a data portal for fast storage and retrieval, sharing, organization and analysis of images of varied porous micro-structures. It has the purpose of enhancing research resources for modeling/prediction of porous material properties in the fields of Petroleum, Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as Geology. The platform allows managing, preserving, visualization and basic analysis of available images of porous materials and experiments performed on them, and any accompanying measurements (porosity, capillary pressure, permeability, electrical, NMR and elastic properties, etc.) required for both validation on modeling approaches and the upscaling and building of larger (hydro)geological models.
The Digital Rocks Portal is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation EarthCube grant 1541008 from 2015-18.
CAPTION: Mineral maps of the Eagle Ford Shale were generated using a novel SMART mineral mapping method, an original method developed by the authors. See dataset on Digital Rocks Portal for more information.