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We evaluated a laser-based noncontacting method to measure the elastic anisotropy of horizontal shale cores. Whereas conventional transducer data contained an ambiguity between phase and group velocity measurements, small laser source and receiver footprints on typical core samples ensured group velocity information in our laboratory measurements. With a single dense acquisition of group velocity versus group angle on a horizontal core, we estimated the elastic constants C11, C33, and C55 directly from ultrasonic waveforms, and C13 from a least-squares fit of modeled to measured group velocities. The observed significant P-wave velocity and attenuation anisotropy in these dry shales were almost surely exaggerated by delamination of clay platelets and microfracturing, but provided an illustration of the new laboratory measurement technique. Although challenges lay ahead to measure preserved shales at in situ conditions in the lab, we evaluated the fundamental advantages of the proposed method over conventional transducer measurements.

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This document was originally published by Society of Exploration Geophysicists in GEOPHYSICS. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1190/GEO2012-0314.1.