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Crossplots

The crossplot is another method for visualizing petrophysical data. A clever crossplot can reveal even
more about a formation than a standard log-depth display. In a crossplot, the analyst plots one log value on
the x-axis against a different log value, at the same depth, on the y-axis. This is repeated for all depths of
interest, creating a scatterplot such as that shown in Fig. 2. With luck, the location of points on such a plot can
discriminate underlying mineralogy and reveal trends such as shaliness or porosity. Each pure mineral will plot
as a single point. The power to discriminate depends on the independence and uniqueness of log responses to the
lithologies of interest. Crossplots frequently include calculated overlay points and lines. The points locate
various lithologic endpoints of interest, while the lines track the simultaneous solution of the response equations
for the two logs over a range variable such as porosity, or percentage of one mineral vs. another. These response
equations are simply the linear mixing-law response equations discussed in the sections above on the individual
logs. With only two variablesthe two logsonly two unknowns can be extracted. For example, one could
determine matrix type (and its associated endpoint-log readings) and the amount of water-filled porosity.

Fig. 2 Neutron-density crossplot showing where the common lithologies in Fig. 1 fall.

In crossplots, nuclear logs have a clear advantage over sonic or resistivity laws. As we have seen, nuclear logs
generally obey simple, linear, bulk mixing laws that have a firm basis in physics. The mixing laws for sonic and
resistivity measurements are not only nonlinear but also largely empirical, with only weak connections to theory.
Nonlinear terms in a mixing law show up on crossplots as curved lines (the simultaneous solution for a given set
of conditions corresponds to a line). In this section, the discussion will be confined to crossplots involving only
nuclear logs, although many other useful combinations are possible.

A third variable is sometimes displayed as a z-axis in the form of a color scale. In the example, the color of each
point represents its gamma ray log reading according to the key along the right side. This highlights the location
of shales and facilitates the selection of shale properties. This highlights the location of shales and facilitates the
selection of shale properties needed in further log analysis. For example, the shale density and apparent neutron
porosity of the shale can be read off the plot as the values corresponding to the cluster of shale points (in this
case, approximately 2.5 g/cm3 and 40 p.u.).

Perhaps the most useful crossplot in log analysis is an old standard, the neutron-density crossplot. An example
based on the synthetic-type logs in Fig.1 is shown in Fig. 2. By convention (and convention is very important to
quick-look, visual techniques), the neutron log, expressed in limestone porosity units, is plotted on the x-axis
against the density log in g/cm 3 on the y-axis, with the scales reversed (i.e., from highest to lowest density).
Ideally, because both are porosity logs, points of a given porosity in a pure lithology will fall along a diagonal
line. Such a line represents the simultaneous solution of the density and neutron mixing laws as a function of
varying porosity. Three such lines are generally plotted as overlays on this crossplot. They correspond to a
calcite, dolomite, or quartz matrix with water-filled porosity. If the neutron log were a true hydrogen index log,
the lines would extend from a y -intercept corresponding to the grain density of the particular lithology (the
zero-porosity limit) to a common upper-right point corresponding to 100% water (i.e., 1.0 g/cm 3 density and
100% neutron porosity). While this is largely true, neutron logs are not perfect hydrogen index measures.
The most commonly run compensated neutron log actually measures neutron migration length, which is a
mixture of a large hydrogen index-controlled term and a smaller term controlled by neutron capture that is
matrix- and fluid-type dependent. The mix of the two terms in a given tool is design dependent. For example,
epithermal neutron porosity is a nearly perfect hydrogen index log. The more commonly used thermal neutron
porosity includes some capture effect. This superimposes a linear, matrix-dependent term on the neutron
response and a small amount of nonlinearity when hydrogen index is low, such as in gas. Because tool design
affects the relative contribution of these terms, each service company generates its own, slightly different
overlays for the neutron-density crossplot. This also explains apparent differences between wireline and LWD
neutron-porosity measurements.

Returning to the example in Fig.2, the location of points on the neutron-density crossplot can be mapped to
specific lithologies, a number of which are shown on the figure. Other lithology points can be plotted from their
neutron- and density-log readings taken from Table 1 and Table 2, respectively. Edmundson and
Raymer[1] present a more complete tabulation of pure mineral-log readings, as do most service-company chart
books. Lines connecting two points on a crossplot represent the mixing of the two lithologies. Remember that
water can be used as a lithology endpoint on a crossplot. This creates a porosity trend line from the pure, 0%
porosity point for a given matrix to the 100% water point. Lines and points on the crossplot represent specific,
simultaneous solutions of the neutron and density mixing for specific supposed lithologies. Cross-cutting lines
may represent lithology trendschanges from one lithology to another or simultaneous changes in lithology and
porosity. Violated assumptions can be especially revealing. A given formation thought to be a limestone may
actually lie along the dolomite line, indicating that it is a dolomite or a sand plot to the lower right of the sand
line and, thus, may not be as clean as hoped. The most commonly violated assumption is that the pore space is
filled with a liquid (specifically water, although liquid hydrocarbons do not fall very far from the water-filled
porosity line). If it were filled with gas instead, the points on the crossplot would move to the upper left, away
from the water-filled porosity line. This is the same effect demonstrated by neutron-density crossover on a
standard log display. More subtly, a neutron-density crossplot can flag diagenesis. For instance, dolomitization
of a limestone might reveal itself as a trail of points scattering from the tight end of the limestone line to the
moderate-porosity region of the dolomite one. This can be a very beneficial process, increasing the porosity of
the formation. If this process were missed and the formation treated as a pure limestone, much lower porosity
would be calculated, and the reservoir might be bypassed. Examination of the neutron-density crossplot should
often be one of the first steps in reconnaissance log analysis. A crossplot can help the analyst identify rock types
and porosity ranges and guide the selection of facies and zones.

Table 1 Apparent thermal neutron porosities of some common reservoir materials.

Table 2 Values of bulk density, electron density, and apparent density(as read by a logging tool0 for
some common minerals and fluids.

By exploiting the principal of closure (the fact that the volume percentages of all the constituents of a formation
must add up to exactly 1), three components can be extracted from a 2D crossplot. Consider a three-component
system composed of sand, shale, and water-filled porosity. Qualitatively, the shaly sand progression beginning at
a single clean-sand porosity is sketched in Fig.2 as a trend line. Even if not done quantitatively, this process can
indicate the direction that points would move in the presence of a change in composition. As this suggests, the
neutron-density crossplot can be a useful alternative to simple gamma ray interpretation for the determination of
shale volume. Fig. 3 is a neutron-density crossplot overlaid with a grid of lines. The grid is calculated from the
density and neutron response equations, varying relative amounts of sand, water-filled porosity, and clay.

Fig. 3 The neutron-density crossplot can be used to quantify clay volume and porosity in sand/shale
mixtures using simple linear mixing laws to plot lines for given bulk properties(e.g., shale volumes).

An example of a different, less commonly used nuclear-log crossplot is shown in Fig. 4. As in the neutron-
density example, the sample data from the logs in Fig.1 are plotted as small squares. This display crossplots
synthetic variables, not raw logs. On the x-axis is the U matrix apparent. As discussed above, this transformation
converts the nonlinear Pe log to Umaa, a characteristic that obeys linear volumetric mixing. On the y-axis is
apparent grain density from the neutron and density logs. Somewhat simplified, this is the grain density needed
to produce the neutron-log porosity from the density-log reading, assuming water-filled porosity. The blue,
ternary grid shows the generic endpoints for sandstone, calcite, and dolomite. The various labels (e.g., coal and
anhydrite) mark the locations at which those minerals should ideally fall on the plot. This technique, sometimes
called the matrix-identification (MID) plot, is especially useful in unwinding multicomponent lithologies, as the
widely separated overlay points suggest. It gets much of its power from the fact that Pe is largely porosity
independent. This accounts for the near-vertical trends in much of the overlaid data from Fig. 1. As in all
crossplots, uncorrected environmental effects may show up as misplaced points, the hallmark of a violated
assumption. For instance, because the Pe is a very shallow measurement, barite (with its high iron content) in the
mud can cause a wholesale shift of the data cloud to the right.

Fig. 4 Example MID plot for the logs in Fig. 1


These are but two examples of the visualizations possible with petrophysical crossplots. Other derived
parameters useful in crossplotting incorporate sonic logs. These include the nlith and mlith crossplot
(where mlith and nlith are derived from combining density, neutron, sonic, and PE logs) and the crossplot of
apparent matrix density (from the neutron-density crossplot) vs. apparent matrix travel time (from the neutron-
sonic crossplot). These procedures can reduce the simultaneous solution of more than two log responses to an x-
y plot visualization. Much of this can, of course, be done mathematically by solving multiple-log response
equations simultaneously. Crossplot visualizations, however, may set limits on the possible formation
constituents and define the input parameters to the formation model before attempting a mathematical solution.