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Effects of diagenesis (cement precipitation) during fracture opening on fracture aperture-size scaling in carbonate rocks

By
J. N. Hooker
J. N. Hooker
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78713, USA
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L. A. Gomez
L. A. Gomez
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78713, USAExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, 3120 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, Texas 77098, USA
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S. E. Laubach
S. E. Laubach
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78713, USA
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J. F. W. Gale
J. F. W. Gale
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78713, USA
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R. Marrett
R. Marrett
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78713, USADepartment of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78713, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2012

Abstract

A correlation is demonstrated between the presence of crack-seal texture and power-law kinematic aperture-size (width) distributions among opening-mode fractures in rocks of dominantly carbonate mineralogy. Crack-seal opening increments (opening-displacement increment sizes or ‘gaps’) within individual fractures follow narrow normal or log-normal size distributions, suggesting that fracture widening accumulates in characteristic (usually micrometre-scale) size increments. The scale invariance in overall fracture width distributions present in some fracture sets most likely arises from grouping of these increments (localization) to form larger fractures (millimetre- to centimetre-scale widths). Such localization could be a consequence of the tendency for larger, less cemented fractures to break preferentially during subsequent deformation. Cement accumulation patterns thus provide a mechanism for positive feedback whereby large-fracture growth exceeds small-fracture growth. Using characteristically sized growth increments, a fracture growth model accurately simulates fracture arrays having power-law fracture-width distributions. Model parameters can be altered to produce characteristic-width fracture size distributions. The results have implications for how fracture porosity and permeability evolve in carbonate reservoirs.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Advances in Carbonate Exploration and Reservoir Analysis

J. Garland
J. Garland
Cambridge Carbonates Ltd, UK
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J. E. Neilson
J. E. Neilson
University of Aberdeen, UK
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S. E. Laubach
S. E. Laubach
University of Texas at Austin, USA
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K. J. Whidden
K. J. Whidden
USGS, USA
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Geological Society of London
Volume
370
ISBN electronic:
9781862396180
Publication date:
January 01, 2012

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