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Anisotropic poroelasticity and the response of faulted rock to changes in pore-fluid pressure

By
David Healy
David Healy
School of Geosciences, King's College, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UE UK (e-mail: d.healy@abdn.ac.uk)
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Published:
January 01, 2012

Abstract

The Law of Effective Stress has found wide application in structural geology, rock mechanics and petroleum geology. The commonly used form of this law relies on an assumption of isotropic porosity. The porosity in and around fluid-saturated fault zones is likely to be dominated by tectonically induced cracks of various shapes and sizes. Previously published field and laboratory data show that these cracks occur in distinct patterns of preferred orientation, and that these patterns vary around the fault zone. This paper uses the more general form of the Law of Effective Stress which incorporates anisotropic poroelasticity to model the geomechanical response of fault zones surrounded by patterns of oriented cracks. Predictions of fault stability in response to fluid pressure changes are shown to depend on both the nature (or symmetry) of the crack pattern and the orientation of the crack patterns with respect to the in situ stress. More complete data on the porosity of natural fault zones will enable more accurate predictions of fault stability in the subsurface.

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Geological Society Special Publications

Faulting, Fracturing and Igneous Intrusion in the Earth’s Crust

D. Healy
D. Healy
University of Aberdeen, Scotland
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R. W. H. Butler
R. W. H. Butler
University of Aberdeen, Scotland
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Z. K. Shipton
Z. K. Shipton
University of Strathclyde, Scotland
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R. H. Sibson
R. H. Sibson
University of Otago, New Zealand
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
9781862396159
Publication date:
January 01, 2012

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