Closely spaced, sub-parallel fracture networks contained within localized tabular zones that are fracture corridors may compromise top seal integrity and form pathways for vertical fluid flow between reservoirs at different stratigraphic levels. This geometry is exemplified by fracture corridors found in outcrops of the Jurassic Entrada Formation in Utah (USA). These fracture corridors exhibit discolored (bleached) zones, interpreted as evidence of ancient fracture-enhanced circulation of reducing fluids within an exhumed siliciclastic reservoir-cap rock succession. Extensive structural and stratigraphic mapping and logging provided fracture data for analysis with respect to their occurrence and relationships to larger faults and folds. Three types of fracture corridors, representing end-members of a continuum of possibly interrelated structures were identified: 1) fault damage zone including segment relays; 2) fault-tip process zone and 3) fold-related crestal-zone fracture corridors. The three types exhibit intrinsic orientations and patterns, which in sum define a local- to regional network of inferred vertical and lateral, high-permeability conduits. The results from our analysis may provide improved basis for the evaluation of trap integrity and flow paths across the reservoir-cap rock interface, applicable to both CO2 storage operations and the hydrocarbon industry. ?? 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
|Journal of Structural Geology
- Fracture corridors
- Fracture-related fluid flow
- Reservoir-cap rock interconnectivity