Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


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Graduate Seminar - Dr. Laura Pyrak-Nolte


Monday, April 10, 2017


03:00pm - 04:00pm


CPE 2.204


Speaker:  Dr. Laura Pyrak-Nolte, Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, College of Science at Purdue University

Title of Seminar: “Geophysics of Fractures”

Abstract: The hypothesis that the hydraulic, mechanical and seismic properties of fractures are all interrelated has been indirectly implied by research performed by the hydrology, geomechanics and geophysics communities—but with each community providing a partial view into the behavior of fractures and fracture networks.  In this presentation, results from a finite-size scaling analysis are presented that reveal a fundamental scaling relationship between fracture stiffness and fracture fluid flow.  The resulting hydromechanical scaling function provides a link between fluid flow and the seismic response of a fracture, which suggests that seismic techniques may provide a means for remote sensing of fracture permeability.  To fulfill this potential, deeper understanding of the origins and dynamics of fracture seismic stiffness is still required.  Recent results will be presented on the seismic response of the intersections between multiple fractures, which represent a newly uncovered contribution to the compliance of a rock mass.

Biography:   Dr. Laura J. Pyrak-Nolte is a Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, College of Science, at Purdue University.  She holds courtesy appointments in the Lyle School of Civil Engineering and in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, also in the College of Science.  Prior to arriving at Purdue in 1997, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences.  Dr. Pyrak-Nolte holds a B.S. in Engineering Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo, an M.S. in Geophysics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Mineral Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.  Her interests include applied geophysics, experimental and theoretical seismic wave propagation, rock mechanics, micro-fluidics, particle swarms, and fluid flow through Earth materials.  In 1995, Dr. Pyrak-Nolte received the Schlumberger Lecture Award from the International Society of Rock Mechanics.  She received Young Investigator Awards from the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research, and in 2001, Purdue recognized Dr. Pyrak-Nolte’s accomplishments with a University Scholar Award. In 2013, she was made a Fellow of the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA). In summer of 2017, she will be President of the American Rock Mechanics Association.