Analysis of borehole breakouts

Zheng Ziqiong Zheng, J. Kemeny, N. G.W. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Breakouts are valuable indicators of the direction of the minimum compressive stress orthogonal to the axis of the borehole. Their shapes may provide information about the magnitudes of both the maximum and minimum stresses relative to the strength of the rock. Borehole breakouts also may be impediments to drilling and to in situ measurement techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing. Observations and analyses of borehole breakouts raise three important questions. First, how does the shape of the borehole breakout evolve? Second, why are breakout shapes stable despite the very high compressive stress concentrations that they produce? Third, how is the shape of the breakout related to the magnitudes of the stresses in the rock? The stresses outside the stable breakout are found to be everywhere less than the limiting values of shear strength given by a Mohr-Coulomb criterion. In the regions of great stress concentrations at the ends of a breakout cross section, which have a pointed shape, the state of stress approaches that of equal biaxial compression in plane strain, as it does ahead of a mathematical crack or notch. The fact that the stresses around a breakout are less than the relevant strength establishes both the stability of the final breakout cross section and the appropriateness of an elastic analysis of the stresses. According to this model, the cross-sectional shapes of stable breakouts are not related uniquely to the state of stress and the strength of the rock. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7171-7182
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of geophysical research
Issue numberB6
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of borehole breakouts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this