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Single- and two-phase fluid flow properties of cataclastic fault rocks in porous sandstone

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew Aplin


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Understanding the impact of faults on fluid flow in the subsurface is important for the extraction of oil, gas and groundwater as well as the geological storage of waste products. We address two problems present in current industry-standard workflows for fault seal analysis that may lead to fault rocks not being represented adequately in computational fluid flow models. Firstly, fluid flow properties of fault rocks are often measured only for small-scale faults with throws not exceeding a few centimetres. Large seismic-scale faults (throws >20 m) are likely to act as baffles or conduits to flow but they are seldom recovered from subsurface cores and consequently fault rock data for them is sparse. Secondly, experimental two-phase fluid flow data is lacking for fault rocks and, consequently, uncertainties exist when modelling flow across faults in the presence of two or more immiscible phases. We present a data set encompassing both single- and two-phase fluid flow properties of fault and host rocks from the 90-Fathom fault and its damage zone at Cullercoats Bay, NE England. Measurements were made on low-throw single and zones of deformation bands as well as on slip-surface cataclasites present along the similar to 120 m throw main fault. Samples were analysed using SEM and X-ray tomography prior to petrophysical measurements. We show that single deformation bands, deformation band zones and slip-surface cataclasites exhibit dissimilar single- and two-phase fluid flow properties. This is due to grain-size reduction being more pronounced in slip-surface cataclasites and changes in microstructure being fault-parallel for deformation bands but mostly fault-perpendicular for slip-surface cataclasites. A trend of fault rocks with low absolute permeabilities exhibiting lower relative permeabilities than more permeable rocks at the same capillary pressure is evident. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tueckmantel C, Fisher QJ, Grattoni CA, Aplin AC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine and Petroleum Geology

Year: 2012

Volume: 29

Issue: 1

Pages: 129-142

Print publication date: 27/07/2011

ISSN (print): 0264-8172

ISSN (electronic): 1873-4073

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2011.07.009


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