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Title: Fault Stability Perturbation by Thermal Pressurization and Stress Transfer Around a Deep Geological Repository in a Clay Formation

Abstract

The increase of temperature of a low-permeability, fluid-saturated media may trigger significant thermal pressurization, where the expansion of pore fluid cannot be accommodated by the thermal expansion of the pore space. With the aid of a coupled thermohydromechanical numerical simulator, we investigate the possible impact of thermal pressurization during the life of a deep geological repository (DGR) for high-level radioactive waste, characterized by the emplacement of radioactive material-filled canisters in a series of parallel tunnels, excavated in a low-permeability clay formation. We represent the fault as a planar structure embedded in a thermoporoelastic material and shear activation evaluated by a strain-softening Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion. The results show that stress changes caused by temperature and thermal pressurization of a rock mass around the emplacement tunnels may trigger a slip event on a fault plane in proximity of the geological disposal site: Rupture nucleates at depth, hundreds of meters below the DGR. Stress transfer plays a key role, while a direct hydraulic connection between the repository and the nucleation zone is not necessary in order to trigger rupture. A low stress ratio may favor the occurrence of slip up to a distance of 600 m of the fault from the outermost tunnel.more » Furthermore, these results highlight the need of investigating hydromechanical properties and local stress conditions at depth to characterize the geomechanical response of weak planes located in the surroundings of a high-level radioactive waste repository and to provide sufficient knowledge for the safe development of the DGR site.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. ETH Zürich, Zürich (Switzerland)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1574334
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1557342
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231; AC02‐05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 124; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9313
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; induced seismicity; thermal pressurization; clay; deep geological repository; fault reactivation; numerical finite element

Citation Formats

Urpi, L., Rinaldi, A. P., Rutqvist, J., and Wiemer, S. Fault Stability Perturbation by Thermal Pressurization and Stress Transfer Around a Deep Geological Repository in a Clay Formation. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1029/2019jb017694.
Urpi, L., Rinaldi, A. P., Rutqvist, J., & Wiemer, S. Fault Stability Perturbation by Thermal Pressurization and Stress Transfer Around a Deep Geological Repository in a Clay Formation. United States. doi:10.1029/2019jb017694.
Urpi, L., Rinaldi, A. P., Rutqvist, J., and Wiemer, S. Wed . "Fault Stability Perturbation by Thermal Pressurization and Stress Transfer Around a Deep Geological Repository in a Clay Formation". United States. doi:10.1029/2019jb017694.
@article{osti_1574334,
title = {Fault Stability Perturbation by Thermal Pressurization and Stress Transfer Around a Deep Geological Repository in a Clay Formation},
author = {Urpi, L. and Rinaldi, A. P. and Rutqvist, J. and Wiemer, S.},
abstractNote = {The increase of temperature of a low-permeability, fluid-saturated media may trigger significant thermal pressurization, where the expansion of pore fluid cannot be accommodated by the thermal expansion of the pore space. With the aid of a coupled thermohydromechanical numerical simulator, we investigate the possible impact of thermal pressurization during the life of a deep geological repository (DGR) for high-level radioactive waste, characterized by the emplacement of radioactive material-filled canisters in a series of parallel tunnels, excavated in a low-permeability clay formation. We represent the fault as a planar structure embedded in a thermoporoelastic material and shear activation evaluated by a strain-softening Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion. The results show that stress changes caused by temperature and thermal pressurization of a rock mass around the emplacement tunnels may trigger a slip event on a fault plane in proximity of the geological disposal site: Rupture nucleates at depth, hundreds of meters below the DGR. Stress transfer plays a key role, while a direct hydraulic connection between the repository and the nucleation zone is not necessary in order to trigger rupture. A low stress ratio may favor the occurrence of slip up to a distance of 600 m of the fault from the outermost tunnel. Furthermore, these results highlight the need of investigating hydromechanical properties and local stress conditions at depth to characterize the geomechanical response of weak planes located in the surroundings of a high-level radioactive waste repository and to provide sufficient knowledge for the safe development of the DGR site.},
doi = {10.1029/2019jb017694},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth},
number = 8,
volume = 124,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

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