Structural diagenesis and spatial arrangement of fractures in carbonate rocks




Corrêa, Rodrigo dos Santos Maia

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Fractures are among the most intriguing features of geology. They are commonly associated with important activities in contemporaneous society, including essential energy and infrastructure development projects. However, the distribution and formation of fracture networks is still an important subject of debate, since we still do not fully comprehend formation mechanisms that would allow us to accurately predict fracture patterns in the subsurface or, in some instances, we lack adequate descriptive tools for portraying them. This dissertation focuses on the issue of fracture description and predictability by creating new statistical methods to analyze fracture arrangement and by describing petrographical and geochemical characteristics of fracture cements, also known as structural diagenesis, which allow insights into timing and conditions of fracture formation. I show how my new algorithm can discriminate several fracture spatial arrangements in 2D. Using examples from carbonate rocks, I demonstrate how a range of structural and geochemical tools together help unravel the history of fractures in two key settings: adjacent to faults and in deep-seated settings beneath salt. The results advance how to characterize fracture patterns and our understanding of how fractures form.


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