Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Field characterization of elastic properties across a fault zone reactivated by fluid injection
- Author(s): Jeanne, P
- Guglielmi, Y
- Rutqvist, J
- Nussbaum, C
- Birkholzer, J
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1002/2017JB014384
©2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. We studied the elastic properties of a fault zone intersecting the Opalinus Clay formation at 300 m depth in the Mont Terri Underground Research Laboratory (Switzerland). Four controlled water injection experiments were performed in borehole straddle intervals set at successive locations across the fault zone. A three-component displacement sensor, which allowed capturing the borehole wall movements during injection, was used to estimate the elastic properties of representative locations across the fault zone, from the host rock to the damage zone to the fault core. Young's moduli were estimated by both an analytical approach and numerical finite difference modeling. Results show a decrease in Young's modulus from the host rock to the damage zone by a factor of 5 and from the damage zone to the fault core by a factor of 2. In the host rock, our results are in reasonable agreement with laboratory data showing a strong elastic anisotropy characterized by the direction of the plane of isotropy parallel to the laminar structure of the shale formation. In the fault zone, strong rotations of the direction of anisotropy can be observed. The plane of isotropy can be oriented either parallel to bedding (when few discontinuities are present), parallel to the direction of the main fracture family intersecting the zone, and possibly oriented parallel or perpendicular to the fractures critically oriented for shear reactivation (when repeated past rupture along this plane has created a zone).