14-17 May 2018
New Orleans
US/Central timezone

Seismic monitoring of biopolymer accumulation and permeability reduction in sands

14 May 2018, 10:05
New Orleans

New Orleans

Oral 20 Minutes MS 4.03: Applications of biochemical modification of porous media Parallel 1-B


Dong-Hwa Noh


Bacterial colonization and the spread of biopolymer, gel-like material, on porous media are known to decrease permeability by several order of magnitude and to cause bioclogging thereby altering the hydraulic flow systems of porous media. Attention to microbial bioclogging has been increasing owing to the increasing demand of microbial soil treatment and soil improvement. Successful microbial bioclogging treatments require geophysical monitoring techniques to provide appropriate spatial and temporal information on bacterial growth and activities in the subsurface; such monitoring datasets can be used to evaluate the status of plugged sections and optimize re-treatment if the plug degrades. Therefore, this study investigated the feasibility of using P- and S-wave velocity and attenuation for monitoring the accumulation of bacterial biopolymers and the permeability variations during bioclogging. In sand-packs, Leconostoc mesenteroides was cultured and stimulated to produce insoluble biopolymer and generate bioclogging. During such bacterial bioclogging, permeability and high-frequency P- and S-wave responses were monitored. P-wave velocity was consistent and S-wave velocity was increased with biopolymer accumulation. Both P-and S-wave attenuation, evaluated by using spectral ratio method, were increased with increasing biopolymer saturation. Increases in seismic attenuation are closely linked to the biopolymer saturation and permeability reduction. Herein, we also presented a theoretical model to correlate biopolymer saturation, permeability, and seismic attenuation by modifying three-phase Biot model and Pride-Berryman double-porosity model.


Taylor, S. W., & Jaffé, P. R. (1990). Biofilm growth and the related changes in the physical properties of a porous medium: 3. Dispersivity and model verification. Water resources research, 26(9), 2171-2180.

DeJong, J., Proto, C., Kuo, M., & Gomez, M. (2014). Bacteria, biofilms, and invertebrates: the next generation of geotechnical engineers?. In Geo-Congress 2014: Geo-characterization and Modeling for Sustainability (pp. 3959-3968).

Noh, D. H., Ajo‐Franklin, J. B., Kwon, T. H., & Muhunthan, B. (2016). P and S wave responses of bacterial biopolymer formation in unconsolidated porous media. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 121(4), 1158-1177.

Kwon, T. H., & Ajo-Franklin, J. B. (2013). High-frequency seismic response during permeability reduction due to biopolymer clogging in unconsolidated porous media. Geophysics, 78(6), EN117-EN127.

Biot, M. A. (1956). Theory of propagation of elastic waves in a fluid‐saturated porous solid. I. Low‐frequency range. The Journal of the acoustical Society of america, 28(2), 168-178.

Biot, M. A. (1956). Theory of propagation of elastic waves in a fluid‐saturated porous solid. II. Higher frequency range. the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 28(2), 179-191.

Leclaire, P., Cohen‐Ténoudji, F., & Aguirre‐Puente, J. (1994). Extension of Biot’s theory of wave propagation to frozen porous media. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 96(6), 3753-3768.

Pride, S. R., & Berryman, J. G. (2003). Linear dynamics of double-porosity dual-permeability materials. I. Governing equations and acoustic attenuation. Physical Review E, 68(3), 036603.

Pride, S. R., & Berryman, J. G. (2003). Linear dynamics of double-porosity dual-permeability materials. II. Fluid transport equations. Physical Review E, 68(3), 036604.

Acceptance of Terms and Conditions Click here to agree

Primary authors

Dong-Hwa Noh Prof. Tae-Hyuk Kwon (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST))

Presentation Materials