Scale dependence of hydraulic and structural parameters in fractured rock, from borehole data (KTB and HSDP)
G. Zimmermann, H. Burkhardt, L. Engelhard, 2005. "Scale dependence of hydraulic and structural parameters in fractured rock, from borehole data (KTB and HSDP)", Petrophysical Properties of Crystalline Rocks, P. K. Harvey, T. S. Brewer, P. A. Pezard, V. A. Petrov
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Fundamental understanding of the origin, geometry, extension and scale dependence of fluid pathways in fractured rock is still incomplete. We analysed fracture networks on different scales, based on data from fluorescent thin sections and borehole televiewer (BHTV) images, to obtain geometrical network parameters and to estimate fracture permeability in the vicinity of a mantle plume (Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project, HSDP).
In the depth interval between 814 and 1088 m below sea-level, we observed microfractures in the fluorescent thin sections, and macroscopic fractures in the corresponding BHTV data from the same depth range. Initial modelling of the microscopic network from the fluorescent thin section taken at 1088 m below sea-level gives a clear indication that in this particular case the preferential hydraulic pathways on the microscopic scale are the microfractures in the olivine crystals. This is the only plausible explanation of high porosity (16.6%, based on core measurement), due to the observed vesicles and the corresponding low permeability of 10 µdarcy. Modelling hydraulic flow and calculation of permeability leads to similar values of permeability of 12.3 µdarcy, assuming a mean fracture aperture of 1 µm and an exponential distribution function of the fractures.
Detected structures from BHTV measurements were used to construct a macroscopic stochastic network to simulate the hydraulic flow. We found 337 fractures in the depth section from 783.5 to 1147.5 m below sea-level, which result in a linear frequency of 0.927 m−1. Assuming horizontal layers and constant fracture apertures of 100 µm for all structures, leads to a first estimate of permeability of 77 mdarcy (7.7 × 10−14 m2) in this depth section.
In a recent work, we showed that for data from the Continental Deep Drilling Project (KTB), the fracture density versus fracture length follows a power law. First results from the Hawaiian data suggest a similar relationship, despite all of the differences in the lithological conditions between both sites.
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Boreholes are commonly drilled into crystalline rocks to evaluate their suitability for various applications such as waste disposal (including nuclear waste), geothermal energy, hydrology, sequestration of greenhouse gases and for fault analysis. Crystalline rocks include igneous, metamorphic and even some sedimentary rocks. The quantification and understanding of individual rock masses requires extensive modelling and an analysis of various physical and chemical parameters. This volume covers the following aspects of the petrophysical properties of crystalline rocks: fracturing and deformation, oceanic basement studies, permeability and hydrology, and laboratorybased studies. With the growing demands for sustainable and environmentally effective development of the subsurface, the petrophysics of crystalline rocks is becoming an increasingly important field.