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Geomechanical simulation to predict open subsurface fractures

Lewis, Helen; Hall, Stephen LU and Couples, Gary D. (2009) In Geophysical Prospecting 57(2). p.285-299
Abstract
Geomechanical simulation of the evolution of a geological structure can play an important role in predicting open fracture development for all stages in that structure's development. In this work, three such geomechanical simulations are used to predict the evolving stress and strain fields, including dilational and compactional changes in the rock fabric in developing fault and fold systems. Their consequences for open fracture development and flow are addressed. These simulated stress and strain fields show considerable spatial and temporal heterogeneity that is consistent with deformation patterns observed in both natural examples and in laboratory-deformed analogues. But the stress and strain states that develop are neither co-axial... (More)
Geomechanical simulation of the evolution of a geological structure can play an important role in predicting open fracture development for all stages in that structure's development. In this work, three such geomechanical simulations are used to predict the evolving stress and strain fields, including dilational and compactional changes in the rock fabric in developing fault and fold systems. Their consequences for open fracture development and flow are addressed. These simulated stress and strain fields show considerable spatial and temporal heterogeneity that is consistent with deformation patterns observed in both natural examples and in laboratory-deformed analogues. But the stress and strain states that develop are neither co-axial nor do they bear a simple relationship to one another. The dilational and compactional strains, manifest as open fracturing or sealing, represent some significantly increased or significantly decreased flow rates. However, open-fracture predictions based on such geomechanical simulations are extremely difficult to validate with any degree of confidence as there is little direct evidence of sub-surface fracture distributions. In this context we also discuss possible integration of seismic anisotropy measurements, as an independent measure of open fracture alignment, to support the geomechanically derived fracture predictions. The focus of this work is on volumetric strains in fault zone evolution, though folding is also addressed. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Geophysical Prospecting
volume
57
issue
2
pages
285 - 299
publisher
EAGE / Wiley
external identifiers
  • Scopus:68949104118
ISSN
1365-2478
DOI
10.1111/j.1365-2478.2009.00786.x
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
982a3e12-d3d1-4410-83fb-de4f9fcd5262 (old id 2441177)
date added to LUP
2012-04-27 14:21:46
date last changed
2016-10-13 04:54:46
@misc{982a3e12-d3d1-4410-83fb-de4f9fcd5262,
  abstract     = {Geomechanical simulation of the evolution of a geological structure can play an important role in predicting open fracture development for all stages in that structure's development. In this work, three such geomechanical simulations are used to predict the evolving stress and strain fields, including dilational and compactional changes in the rock fabric in developing fault and fold systems. Their consequences for open fracture development and flow are addressed. These simulated stress and strain fields show considerable spatial and temporal heterogeneity that is consistent with deformation patterns observed in both natural examples and in laboratory-deformed analogues. But the stress and strain states that develop are neither co-axial nor do they bear a simple relationship to one another. The dilational and compactional strains, manifest as open fracturing or sealing, represent some significantly increased or significantly decreased flow rates. However, open-fracture predictions based on such geomechanical simulations are extremely difficult to validate with any degree of confidence as there is little direct evidence of sub-surface fracture distributions. In this context we also discuss possible integration of seismic anisotropy measurements, as an independent measure of open fracture alignment, to support the geomechanically derived fracture predictions. The focus of this work is on volumetric strains in fault zone evolution, though folding is also addressed.},
  author       = {Lewis, Helen and Hall, Stephen and Couples, Gary D.},
  issn         = {1365-2478},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {285--299},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x83e3428)},
  series       = {Geophysical Prospecting},
  title        = {Geomechanical simulation to predict open subsurface fractures},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2478.2009.00786.x},
  volume       = {57},
  year         = {2009},
}