A novel experimental geometry is combined with acoustic emission monitoring capability to measure crack growth and damage accumulation during laboratory simulations of borehole breakout. Three different experiments are conducted in this study using Sierra White Granite. In the first experiment, the sample is deformed at a constant 17.2 MPa confining pressure without pore fluids; in the second experiment, the sample is held at a constant effective pressure of 17.2 MPa with a constant pore pressure; and in the third experiment, pore pressure is modified to induce failure at otherwise constant stress. The results demonstrate that effective pressure and stress path have controlling influence on breakout initiation and damage accumulation in laboratory simulations of wellbore behavior. Excellent agreement between the dry test and constant pore pressure test verify the application of the effective pressure law to borehole deformation. Located AE events coincide with post-test observations of damage and fracture locations. Comparison of AE behavior between the experiments with pore pressure show that breakouts develop prior to peak stress, and continued loading drives damage further into the formation and generates shear fractures.

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