Simulating spatial and temporal evolution of multiple wing cracks around faults in crystalline basement rocks

Jonathan P. Willson, Rebecca J. Lunn, Zoe K. Shipton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fault zones are structurally highly spatially heterogeneous and hence extremely complex. Observations of fluid flow through fault zones over several scales show that this structural complexity is reflected in the hydrogeological properties of faults. Information on faults at depth is scarce, hence, it is highly valuable to understand the controls on spatial and temporal fault zone development. In this paper we increase our understanding of fault damage zone development in crystalline rocks by dynamically simulating the growth of single and multiple splay fractures produced from failure on a pre-existing fault. We present a new simulation model, MOPEDZ (Modeling Of Permeability Evolution in the Damage Zone surrounding faults), that simulates fault evolution through solution of Navier's equation with a combined Mohr-Coulomb and tensile failure criteria. Simulations suggest that location, frequency, mode of failure and orientation of splay fractures are significantly affected both by the orientation of the fault with respect to the maximum principal compressive stress and the conditions of differential stress. Model predictions compare well with published field outcrop data, confirming that this model produces realistic damage zone geometries.
LanguageEnglish
PagesB08408
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume112
Issue numberB8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2007

Fingerprint

crystalline rock
basement rock
temporal evolution
basements
wings
crack
cracks
rocks
Rocks
Crystalline materials
damage
Cracks
fault zone
Crystalline rocks
outcrops
Compressive stress
fluid flow
Flow of fluids
simulation models
permeability

Keywords

  • structural geology
  • dynamics and mechanics of faulting
  • fractures and faults
  • mechanics
  • modeling
  • civil engineering

Cite this

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title = "Simulating spatial and temporal evolution of multiple wing cracks around faults in crystalline basement rocks",
abstract = "Fault zones are structurally highly spatially heterogeneous and hence extremely complex. Observations of fluid flow through fault zones over several scales show that this structural complexity is reflected in the hydrogeological properties of faults. Information on faults at depth is scarce, hence, it is highly valuable to understand the controls on spatial and temporal fault zone development. In this paper we increase our understanding of fault damage zone development in crystalline rocks by dynamically simulating the growth of single and multiple splay fractures produced from failure on a pre-existing fault. We present a new simulation model, MOPEDZ (Modeling Of Permeability Evolution in the Damage Zone surrounding faults), that simulates fault evolution through solution of Navier's equation with a combined Mohr-Coulomb and tensile failure criteria. Simulations suggest that location, frequency, mode of failure and orientation of splay fractures are significantly affected both by the orientation of the fault with respect to the maximum principal compressive stress and the conditions of differential stress. Model predictions compare well with published field outcrop data, confirming that this model produces realistic damage zone geometries.",
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Simulating spatial and temporal evolution of multiple wing cracks around faults in crystalline basement rocks. / Willson, Jonathan P.; Lunn, Rebecca J.; Shipton, Zoe K.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, No. B8, 07.08.2007, p. B08408.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Fault zones are structurally highly spatially heterogeneous and hence extremely complex. Observations of fluid flow through fault zones over several scales show that this structural complexity is reflected in the hydrogeological properties of faults. Information on faults at depth is scarce, hence, it is highly valuable to understand the controls on spatial and temporal fault zone development. In this paper we increase our understanding of fault damage zone development in crystalline rocks by dynamically simulating the growth of single and multiple splay fractures produced from failure on a pre-existing fault. We present a new simulation model, MOPEDZ (Modeling Of Permeability Evolution in the Damage Zone surrounding faults), that simulates fault evolution through solution of Navier's equation with a combined Mohr-Coulomb and tensile failure criteria. Simulations suggest that location, frequency, mode of failure and orientation of splay fractures are significantly affected both by the orientation of the fault with respect to the maximum principal compressive stress and the conditions of differential stress. Model predictions compare well with published field outcrop data, confirming that this model produces realistic damage zone geometries.

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