It is not known how biofilms affect seismic wave propagation in porous media. Such knowledge is critical for assessing the utility of seismic techniques for imaging biofilm development and their effects in field settings. Acoustic wave data were acquired over a two-dimensional region of a microbial-stimulated sand column and an unstimulated sand column. The acoustic signals from the unstimulated column were relatively uniform over the 2D scan region. The data from the microbial-stimulated column exhibited a high degree of spatial heterogeneity in the acoustic wave amplitude, with some regions exhibiting significant increases in attenuation while others exhibited decreases. Environmental scanning electron microscopy showed differences in the structure of the biofilm between regions of increased and decreased acoustic wave amplitude. We conclude from these observations that variations in microbial growth and biofilm structure cause heterogeneity in the elastic properties of porous media with implications for the validation of bioclogging models.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Acoustic Signals; Bioclogging; Biofilm Development; Biofilm Structure; Elastic Properties; Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy; In-field; Microbial Growth; Porous Media; Sand Columns; Seismic Technique; Spatial Heterogeneity; Acoustic Properties; Acoustic Waves; Biofilms; Biofilters; Porous Materials; Scanning Electron Microscopy; Seismic Waves; Seismology; Acoustics; Acoustic Property; Acoustic Wave; Amplitude; Biofilm; Elastic Property; Heterogeneity; Imaging Method; Microbial Activity; Model Validation; Porous Medium; Seismic Method; Seismic Wave; Wave Propagation

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2009 American Geophysical Union (AGU), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2009

Included in

Geology Commons