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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Coupled THM Modeling of Hydroshearing Stimulation in Tight Fractured Volcanic Rock


In this study, we use the TOUGH-FLAC simulator for coupled thermo–hydro-mechanical modeling of well stimulation for an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) project. We analyze the potential for injection-induced fracturing and reactivation of natural fractures in a porous medium with associated permeability enhancement. Our analysis aims to understand how far the EGS reservoir may grow and how the hydroshearing process relates to system conditions. We analyze the enhanced reservoir, or hydrosheared zone, by studying the extent of the failure zone using an elasto-plastic model, and accounting for permeability changes as a function of the induced stresses. For both fully saturated and unsaturated medium cases, the results demonstrate how EGS reservoir growth depends on the initial fluid phase, and how the reservoir extent changes as a function of two critical parameters: (1) the coefficient of friction, and (2) the permeability-enhancement factor. Moreover, while well stimulation is driven by pressure exceeding the hydroshearing threshold, the modeling also demonstrates how injection-induced cooling further extends the effects of stimulation.

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