Rock Types and Shale Properties through Rock Mineralogy using “ECS Logging Tool”

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Method of predicting mechanical properties of rocks using mineral compositions provided by in-situ logging tools
Professor Franz-Josef Ulm
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT
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Jose Ortega
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT
Professor Christopher Bobko
Department of Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering, NCSU
Professor Younane Abousleiman
University of Oklahoma
Minh Tran
University of Oklahoma
Son Hoang
University of Oklahoma
Managed By
Christopher Noble
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Clean and Renewable Energy
Patent Protection

Method of predicting mechanical properties of rocks using mineral compositions provided by in-situ logging tools

US Patent 8,380,437
GeoMechanics Field Characterization of the Two Prolific U.S. Mid-West Gas Plays with Advanced Wire-Line Logging Tools
SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 4-7 October 2009, New Orleans, Louisiana, ISBN: 978-1-55563-263-2


This invention can be used in petroleum, civil, and geotechnical engineering for mechanical characterization of shale materials with field and in-situ logging tools. Formations in the earth are characterized by stress conditions which vary with depth and whose principal directions are generally vertical and horizontal. Gathering information concerning the stress conditions is essential in various disciplines such as underground transportation and petroleum exploration. 

Problem Addressed

Existing techniques for determining rock properties include analysis of core samples. This invention bypasses the costly coring operations by predicting the mechanical properties of rocks using the mineral compositions of the rocks attained from in-situ geochemical logging tools. 


The invention utilizes the downhole Elemental Capture Spectroscopy (ECS) logging tool, or its equivalent, to optimize costs, standardize testing procedures, and provide mechanical material properties of downhole shale from mineralogy composition and physical properties such as density and porosity. ECS is a pulsed neutron spectroscopy logging tool capable of measuring relative elemental yields based on neutron-induced gamma ray spectroscopy.  In addition to the mineral composition, porosity and rock density are part of the mathematical and physical models that can be used with the ECS log data. 


  • Decreases the need for core samples, thus limiting costly coring operations 
  • Optimizes costs by using the ECS log vis-a-vis  more expensive alternative logging tools