Borehole breakout modeling in arkose and granite rocks

Eyal Shalev, Stephen J. Bauer, Michael A. Homel, Tarabay H. Antoun, Eric B. Herbold, Oleg Y. Vorobiev, Harel Levin, Gal Oren, Vladimir Lyakhovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The existence of a deep borehole in the Earth’s crust disturbs the local stresses and creates a stress concentration that may result in breakout and damage to the borehole. Maintaining wellbore integrity mitigates environmental impacts such as groundwater contamination, gas leakage to the atmosphere, and fluid spills and seepage at the surface. In this paper, the stability of deep boreholes (5 km) is examined by laboratory experiments and numerical models in the context of nuclear waste disposal in Israel. Two rock types in southern Israel are considered: the crystalline basement (granite) and the Zenifim Formation (arkose). A series of room-temperature triaxial rock deformation experiments were conducted at different confining pressures. This mechanical characterization was then used to parameterize the elastic properties and damage behavior of the rocks. This facilitated modeling the stability of the deep boreholes by two different formulations of damage rheology: a dynamic-oriented formulation used to model deformation immediately after the creation of the open hole and a quasi-static formulation used to model longer stress corrosion regime. The calibrated modeling results indicate greater stability with Zenifim arkose than the crystalline granite for deep borehole conditions despite the granite having a greater triaxial compressive strength. Dissipation associated with dilation and porous compaction in the arkose during deformation plays a significant stabilizing role in the borehole compared to crystalline rocks. These results suggest that common strength-based borehole stability assessment may lead to inaccurate predictions. Three-dimensional modeling of bottom-hole stress conditions and the effects of transient borehole geometry show conventional two-dimensional analysis may not be conservative when predicting borehole damage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalGeomechanics and Geophysics for Geo-Energy and Geo-Resources
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG part of Springer Nature.


  • Breakouts
  • Damage rheology
  • Dynamic modeling
  • Quasi-static modeling
  • Triaxial experiments


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