Anisotropic pore fabrics in faulted porous sandstones

Natalie Farrell, David Healy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The fabric of pores in sedimentary rocks around fault zones can be subject to significant modification. Knowledge of how pore fabrics vary during and after faulting is important for understanding how rocks transmit fluids around fault zones, and can help to predict mechanical instability due to changes in pore fluid pressure. Datasets detailing the geometry of pore fabrics in faulted porous rocks are lacking. This paper describes pore fabrics quantified from two outcrops of normally faulted sandstone. The porosity and the size, shape and geometry of pores were quantified from core plugs and thin sections. Results were mapped within a framework of the faults to better illustrate how these datasets may be used to improve understanding of fluid flow around fault zones. Results from a mature, quartz-rich arenite show a change in pore fabric from pores oriented horizontally and parallel to laminations to pores oriented at a low angle to σ1. Pore fabrics quantified from a clay-rich, quartz sub-arkose changed from moderate aspect ratio pores with no preferred orientation, to high aspect ratio pores oriented dominantly sub-parallel to the fault surface. Permeabilities measured on corresponding core plugs showed anisotropy of permeability with maximum permeability oriented down fault dip around both faults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Early online date22 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Thanks to SEM technician Peter Chung at the University of Glasgow, David Wilde and Peter Greatbatch at Keele University for careful thin section preparation, Chris Wibberley and Tom Blenkinsop for input and Kieran Keith from Harlaw Academy, Aberdeen for help collecting petrophysical data. Thanks to Fabrizio Storti, Michael Heap and Toru Takeshita for helping to improve this paper with their constructive reviews. This work forms part of a NERC Standard award for DH (NE/N003063/1), which is gratefully acknowledged.


  • Porosity
  • faulting
  • image analysis
  • anisotropy
  • porous sandstone
  • permeability


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