Strain Distribution in Fault Zones and Fluid Flow

by John M. Logan, Texas A&M Univ, Coll Station, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991


Field and laboratory studies have shown that mechanical shearing in fault zones produces a repeatable fabric that changes with increasing shear strain. In the brittle field of mechanical behavior the fabric is characterized by fractures along which displacement has produced grain comminution separated by less deformed domains. This fabric results in an anastomosing network of permeability barriers. The result is that fluid flow at high angles to the gouge zone is inhibited. While the gouge proper is one of reduced permeability most faults have a halo of fractured rock on either side. This fractured zone of increased permeability facilitates fluid flow parallel to the fault. Thus faults can indeed be both barriers and conduits to fluid migration simultaneously, and may change in time and space.

Subject Headings: Fluid flow | Flow distribution | Strain | Shear flow | Fabrics | Rocks | Soil analysis | Soil stress

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