Field observations have established that fault-related damage can occur at locations, far from the principal slip surface, which are well outside the fractured region currently predicted by models of fault damage. We use a finite element model to simulate fracture initiation due to fault linkage and show how variations in rock properties allow off-fault damage to develop at surprisingly large distances away from the main fault. Off-fault damage continues to grow even after two adjacent, closely spaced fault segments have interacted and linked. We demonstrate that this process was important for the formation of fracture-hosted gold deposits in the Mount Pleasant goldfield, Western Australia. The strength of lithological contacts also has a significant impact on off-fault damage location and intensity. Our approach may go some way to explaining the non-intuitive distribution of mineralization in certain mineral systems, as well as being applicable to predict subsurface fracturing and fluid flow in hydrothermal/geothermal reservoirs.
|Number of pages||7|
|Early online date||9 Sept 2013|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Nov 2013|
- numerical modeling
- fault zone
- subsurface fracturing
- fault-related damage