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Title: Two sides of a fault: Grain-scale analysis of pore pressure control on fault slip

Abstract

Pore fluid pressure in a fault zone can be altered by natural processes (e.g., mineral dehydration and thermal pressurization) and industrial operations involving subsurface fluid injection and extraction for the development of energy and water resources. However, the effect of pore pressure change on the stability and slip motion of a preexisting geologic fault remains poorly understood; yet, it is critical for the assessment of seismic hazard. In this study, we develop a micromechanical model to investigate the effect of pore pressure on fault slip behavior. The model couples fluid flow on the network of pores with mechanical deformation of the skeleton of solid grains. Pore fluid exerts pressure force onto the grains, the motion of which is solved using the discrete element method. We conceptualize the fault zone as a gouge layer sandwiched between two blocks. We study fault stability in the presence of a pressure discontinuity across the gouge layer and compare it with the case of continuous (homogeneous) pore pressure.We focus on the onset of shear failure in the gouge layer and reproduce conditions where the failure plane is parallel to the fault. We show that when the pressure is discontinuous across the fault, the onset ofmore » slip occurs on the side with the higher pore pressure, and that this onset is controlled by the maximum pressure on both sides of the fault. In conclusion, the results shed new light on the use of the effective stress principle and the Coulomb failure criterion in evaluating the stability of a complex fault zone.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States); Uppsala Univ. (Sweden); Wuhan Univ. (China)
  2. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1505588
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1422001
Grant/Contract Number:  
FE0009738; SC0018357
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review E
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 97; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2470-0045
Publisher:
American Physical Society (APS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS

Citation Formats

Yang, Zhibing, and Juanes, Ruben. Two sides of a fault: Grain-scale analysis of pore pressure control on fault slip. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1103/physreve.97.022906.
Yang, Zhibing, & Juanes, Ruben. Two sides of a fault: Grain-scale analysis of pore pressure control on fault slip. United States. doi:10.1103/physreve.97.022906.
Yang, Zhibing, and Juanes, Ruben. Wed . "Two sides of a fault: Grain-scale analysis of pore pressure control on fault slip". United States. doi:10.1103/physreve.97.022906. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1505588.
@article{osti_1505588,
title = {Two sides of a fault: Grain-scale analysis of pore pressure control on fault slip},
author = {Yang, Zhibing and Juanes, Ruben},
abstractNote = {Pore fluid pressure in a fault zone can be altered by natural processes (e.g., mineral dehydration and thermal pressurization) and industrial operations involving subsurface fluid injection and extraction for the development of energy and water resources. However, the effect of pore pressure change on the stability and slip motion of a preexisting geologic fault remains poorly understood; yet, it is critical for the assessment of seismic hazard. In this study, we develop a micromechanical model to investigate the effect of pore pressure on fault slip behavior. The model couples fluid flow on the network of pores with mechanical deformation of the skeleton of solid grains. Pore fluid exerts pressure force onto the grains, the motion of which is solved using the discrete element method. We conceptualize the fault zone as a gouge layer sandwiched between two blocks. We study fault stability in the presence of a pressure discontinuity across the gouge layer and compare it with the case of continuous (homogeneous) pore pressure.We focus on the onset of shear failure in the gouge layer and reproduce conditions where the failure plane is parallel to the fault. We show that when the pressure is discontinuous across the fault, the onset of slip occurs on the side with the higher pore pressure, and that this onset is controlled by the maximum pressure on both sides of the fault. In conclusion, the results shed new light on the use of the effective stress principle and the Coulomb failure criterion in evaluating the stability of a complex fault zone.},
doi = {10.1103/physreve.97.022906},
journal = {Physical Review E},
number = 2,
volume = 97,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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Cited by: 1 work
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Figures / Tables:

FIG. 1. FIG. 1.: Schematic of the coupled hydromechanical model based on the discrete element method (DEM) and a pore network flow (PNF) model. (a) Pore network in a five-grain setup (transparent yellow spheres); the pores are shown by purple spheres and the throat by a green cylinder; the edges of themore » tetrahedral tessellation are shown with red lines. Each pore is composed of the void space within a tetrahedron whose four nodes are the centers of the surrounding grains. Each throat is defined by the open area within a triangular face of a tetrahedron. The pore volumes and throat conductances are calculated based on local geometry. (b) Grain pack (cut in half and rendered in 50% opaque yellow color) and accompanying pore network. (c) Schematic of the couplings in the DEM–PNF model.« less

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