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- PublicationAccès libreSlip perturbation during fault reactivation by a fluid injectionSlip orientation inferred from fault striae or focal mechanism datasets is commonly used in stress inversion methods based on the Wallace-Bott hypothesis. The hypothesis postulates that slip on a fault plane is collinear with the orientation of the resolved shear stress. It is valid for a single planar fault subjected to a homogeneous far-field stress. However, the experimental displacement data from an induced fault reactivation experiment, conducted in the Mont Terri rock laboratory, Switzerland, indicated multiple triggered slip orientations, thereby preventing application of the above inversion method. We present numerical and analytical results of slip on a reactivated fracture with a non-uniform fluid pressure distribution. Using these models, we evaluate the reasons for the inconsistency of our observations and the traditional Wallace-Bott hypothesis and test the physical effects of various parameters on fault slip. In the fully coupled hydromechanical numerical model (three-dimensional distinct element method), fluid pressure at a point on the fault surface is increased stepwise (assumed planar and singular) until shear reactivation of the fault is induced. We studied two different models with high and low fault plane stiffness to represent hard and soft rock masses, respectively. The model shows that high fault stiffness preserves the planarity of the fault plane, while low fault stiffness permits dilation and morphological changes of the fracture related to fluid pressure diffusion. The highest slip perturbation was observed in the low stiffness model due to the change of the fracture shape, controlled by the non-uniform pressure distribution. The Eshelby analytical solution confirmed that the more the fracture is dilated, the more the corresponding resolved shear stress is perturbed. Additionally, when compared to dilation and fault aperture, the friction angle has the most influence on the angular difference between geomechanical slip vectors and resolved shear stress.
- PublicationAccès libreAseismic deformations perturb the stress state and trigger induced seismicity during injection experimentsFluid injections can trigger seismicity even on faults that are not optimally oriented for reactivation, suggesting either sufficiently large fluid pressure or local stress perturbations. Understanding how stress field may be perturbed during fluid injections is crucial in assessing the risk of induced seismicity and the efficiency of deep fluid stimulation projects. Here, we focus on a series of in situ decametric experiments of fluid-induced seismicity, performed at 280 m depth in an underground gallery, while synchronously monitoring the fluid pressure and the activated fractures movements. During the injections, seismicity occurred on existing natural fractures and bedding planes that aremisoriented to slip relative to the background stress state,whichwas determined from the joint inversion of downhole fluid pressure and mechanical displacements measured at the injection.We then compare this background stress with the one estimated from the inversion of earthquake focal mechanisms. We find significant différences in the orientation of the stress tensor components, thus highlighting local perturbations. After discussing the influence of the gallery, the pore pressure variation and the geology, we show that the significant stress perturbations induced by the aseismic deformation (which represents more than 96 per cent of the total deformation) trigger the seismic reactivation of fractures with different orientations.
- PublicationAccès libreIn Situ Direct Displacement Information on Fault Reactivation During Fluid InjectionThe three dimensional (3D) displacement induced by fluid injection was measured during two fault reactivation experiments conducted in carbonate rocks at the Rustrel Low Noise Underground Laboratory (LSBB URL), France, and in shale rocks at the Mont Terri Rock laboratory, Switzerland. The faults were activated by injecting high pressure fluid and using the Step-Rate Injection Method for Fracture In-Situ Properties, which allows a coupled pressure-flowrate-3D displacement monitoring in boreholes. Both experiments mainly show complex aseismic deformation of preexisting fractures that depend on (1) the fluid pressure variations related to chamber pressurization and leakage into the formation and (2) irreversible shear slip and opening of the reactivated fractures. Here we detail the processing of the 3D displacement data from both experiments to isolate slip vectors from the complex displacement signal. Firstly, we explain the test protocol and describe the in situ hydromechanical behavior of the borehole/fault system. Secondly, we define the methodology of the displacement data processing to isolate slip vectors with high displacement rates, which carry information about the key orientation of fault reactivation. Finally, we discuss which slip vectors can potentially be used to solve the stress inversion problem.