Fracture distribution on the Swift Reservoir Anticline, Montana: Implications for structural and lithological controls on fracture intensity
Published:January 02, 2020
Hannah Watkins, Clare E. Bond, Adam J. Cawood, Mark A. Cooper, Marian J. Warren, 2020. "Fracture distribution on the Swift Reservoir Anticline, Montana: Implications for structural and lithological controls on fracture intensity", Folding and Fracturing of Rocks: 50 Years of Research since the Seminal Text Book of J. G. Ramsay, C. E. Bond, H. D. Lebit
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Where primary porosity and permeability of a rock are unfavourable for hydrocarbon production, fractures can improve reservoir potential by enhancing permeability. Higher fracture intensity may create a better-connected fracture network, improving fractured-reservoir quality. Investigations into the controls on fracture intensity commonly conclude that either structural or lithological factors have the greatest influence on fracture abundance. We use the Swift Reservoir Anticline in northwestern Montana to investigate how fracture intensity varies throughout the structure and determine that although structural factors do influence fracture intensity, lithology is the main control at outcrop.
The Swift Reservoir Anticline exposes bedding surfaces of the Mississippian Castle Reef Formation dolomite. Field data indicates that fracture intensity is highest in the fold forelimb, decreasing into the backlimb except in outcrops of coarse dolomite where fracture intensity is low, regardless of structural position. Field fracture intensity correlates with whole-rock quartz, kaolinite and porosity percentages. We suggest porosity and composition influence bulk-rock mechanical properties, which, in turn, control the fracture intensity at outcrop. Fracture intensity has a stronger relationship with lithological than structural factors, therefore we suggest that the key to predicting fracture intensity in the subsurface here is understanding how lithology varies spatially.
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Folding and Fracturing of Rocks: 50 Years of Research since the Seminal Text Book of J. G. Ramsay
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This Special Publication is a celebration of research into the Folding and Fracturing of Rocks to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of the seminal textbook by J. G. Ramsay. Folding and Fracturing of Rocks summarised the key structural geology concepts of the time. Through his numerical and geometric focus John pioneered and provided solutions to understanding the processes leading to the folding and fracturing of rocks. His strong belief that numerical and geometric solutions, to understanding crustal processes, should be tested against field examples added weight and clarity to his work. The basic ideas and solutions presented in the text are as relevant now as they were 50 years ago, and this collection of papers celebrates John's contribution to structural geology. The papers explore the lasting impact of John and his work, they present case studies and a modern understanding of the process documented in the Folding and Fracturing of Rocks.