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Using observations from the extensional basin setting in Vietnam, conceptual models were developed to simulate and analyse fracture systems typical of crystalline basement in such structural settings. Information from field observations, seismic surveys and three-dimensional (3-D) structural modelling were integrated and used to build geologically realistic 3-D fracture networks. A major advantage of the method used in this study is that it allows a better understanding of the apparently chaotic fracture networks characteristic of such rocks, and of the processes responsible for fracturing. Several fracture generating processes are discussed and modelled, with emphasis on tectonic fractures and the relation to structural modelling. An example is presented highlighting the differences in fracturing in the hanging wall and footwall during lithospheric extension superimposed on a primary (igneous) cooling fracture network. Results suggest that during flexural uplift, the hanging wall is significantly more deformed than the footwall, implying the former is more prone to fracturing than the footwall for both kinematic and flexural isostatic processes.

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