A significant knowledge gap exists when analysing and predicting the hydraulic behaviour of faults within carbonate reservoirs. To improve this, a large database of carbonate fault rock properties has been collected from 42 exposed faults, from seven countries. Faults analysed cut a range of lithofacies, tectonic histories, burial depths and displacements. Porosity and permeability measurements from c. 400 samples have been made, with the goal of identifying key controls on the flow properties of fault rocks in carbonates. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors have been examined, such as host lithofacies, juxtaposition, host porosity and permeability, tectonic regime, displacement, and maximum burial depth, as well as the depth at the time of faulting. The results indicate which factors may have had the most significant influence on fault rock permeability, improving our ability to predict the sealing or baffle behaviour of faults in carbonate reservoirs. Intrinsic factors, such as host porosity, permeability and texture, appear to play the most important role in fault rock development. Extrinsic factors, such as displacement and kinematics, have shown lesser or, in some instances, a negligible control on fault rock development. This conclusion is, however, subject to two research limitations: lack of sufficient data from similar lithofacies at different displacements, and a low number of samples from thrust regimes.

Thematic collection: This article is part of the Fault and top seals collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/cc/fault-and-top-seals-2019

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