Usually, fracture sampling studies comprise the collection of several fracture samples, which involve many fracture clusters. Grouping fracture samples into structural domains is generally useful for geologists, hydrogeologists, and geomechanicians as a region of fractured rocks is subdivided into sub-regions with similar behavior in terms of their hydromechanical properties. One of the common methods used for grouping fracture samples into structural domains considers the fracture orientation of clusters and ignores several fracture parameters, such as fracture spacing, aperture, and persistence, which are important for fluid circulation in the rock mass.
In this study, we proposed a new cluster-based similarity method that considered the orientation of clusters as well as clusters’ aperture, persistence, and fracture spacing. Field investigations were conducted in the Grenville geological province of the Canadian Shield in the Lanaudière region, Quebec, Canada, where fractures were sampled from 30 outcrops and four boreholes. The proposed method is more suitable than other methods, and has applications in hydrogeology, rock mechanics, and especially in studies of fluid circulation in the rock mass. In addition, a method for the compartmentalization of a given study area into structural domains by means of Voronoi diagrams was also proposed.