Digital Sandbox Modeling Using Distinct Element Method: Applications to Fault Tectonics
Yasuhiro Yamada, Toshifumi Matsuoka, 2005. "Digital Sandbox Modeling Using Distinct Element Method: Applications to Fault Tectonics", Faults, Fluid Flow, and Petroleum Traps, Rasoul Sorkhabi, Yoshihiro Tsuji
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Structural deformation by faulting and folding has been analyzed by sandbox experiments that appropriately model the brittle behavior of the upper crust.This type of physical experiment using granular materials can also be done by numerical simulation (digital modeling) using the distinct element method (DEM).This chapter presents a set of two-dimensional simulation results of structural deformations using the DEM in basic tectonic settings of extension and contraction and also in the indentation tectonics as a consequence of continental collision of India. By comparing with analog experiments, the simulations reproduced fault systems similar to those of the experiments in terms of the overall deformation geometry and their development sequence. In particular, characteristic features of the Indian collision tectonics, such as fragmentation and rotation of continental blocks, were clearly identified in our DEM simulation. Because the DEM digital modeling is cheaper and faster than conventional sandbox experiments and it can incorporate discontinuity surfaces properly, the method can prove to be a powerful tool to simulate fault-related phenomena, such as structural traps in sedimentary basins. The DEM is a forward-modeling technique and can provide useful information on possible deformation pathways.
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Japan National Oil Corporation (JNOC) (presently Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation) launched a multidisciplinary and international project on the Evaluation of Traps and Seals in 1997. The project ended in 2003. This publication resulted from that project and includes JNOC research articles as well as contributions from industry and academia. The 17 papers in this volume cover topics such as a method to estimate the amount of oil/gas accumulation using the concept of equivalent grain size in seal rock, and oil/gas migration to and spill-point geometry of petroleum traps; two case studies of fault seal assessment applied to normal faults in Tertiary clastic reservoirs in offshore Sarawak and offshore Gulf of Thailand; and physical analog studies of the development of extensional faults. This publication also contains a valuable bibliography of nearly 1000 additional articles and books published on fault traps, fault seal processes, and fault-related fluid flow in sedimentary basins, for use as a reference tool to delve into publications preceding this volume.