Numerical investigation of the influence of discontinuity orientations on fault permeability evolution and slip displacement

Dorcas S. Eyinla* (Corresponding Author), Quan Gan, Michael A. Oladunjoye, Abel I. Olayinka

*Corresponding author for this work

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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A pre-existing plane of weakness along the fault is comprised of a particular pattern of joints dipping at different orientations. The fault stress state, partially defined by the orientation of fault, determines the potential of slip failure and hence the evolution of fault permeability. Here the influence of fault orientation on permeability evolution was investigated by direct fluid injection inside fault with three different sets of fault orientations (45°, 60° and 110°), through the coupled hydromechanical (H-M) model TOUGHREACT-FLAC3D. The influence of joints pattern on slip tendency and magnitude of potential induced seismicity was also evaluated by comparing the resulted slip distance and timing. The simulation results revealed that decreasing the dip angle of the fault increases the corresponding slip tendency in the normal fault circumstance. Also, with changing joints dip angle associated with the fault, the tendency of the fault slip changes concurrently with the permeability evolution in a noticeable manner. Permeability enhancement after the onset of fault slip was observed with the three sets of fault angles, while the condition of 60° dipping angle resulted in highest enhancement. Joints pattern with a dip angle of 145° (very high dip) and 30° (very low dip) did not trigger a shear slip with seismic permeability enhancement. However, high dip and intermediate dip angles (135°, 50° and 70°) yielded high permeability in varying orders of magnitude. The large stress excitation and increasing permeability during shear deformation was noticeably high in intermediate joint dip angles but decreases as the angle increases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
Number of pages23
JournalGeomechanics and Geophysics for Geo-Energy and Geo-Resources
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements The authors wish to acknowledge the African Union Commission for providing the financial support through Pan African University; and the University of Aberdeen for providing the facilities and enabling environment for this study.
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