Fracture Flow

Research Overview
Fractures enable fast pathways for fluid flow that can transport contaminants or alternatively provide access to energy such as natural gas or renewable geothermal energy from hot rock. Producing or injecting water, or other fluids such as CO2 for sequestration or gels for hydraulic fracturing, into fractures can also induce earthquakes that pose both a potential hazard and change the flow of fluids at depth.

Davatzes group studies Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS), induced seismicity, fracture mechanical and hydrologic properties, and the stress state in the earth.

Toran group studies groundwater hydrology including modeling contaminant transport and the interaction of surface waters in streams and lakes with groundwater.

Nyquist uses geophysical techniques to monitor ground water and surface water interactions.

Technical Capabilities

– Geologic mapping of fault geometry, fault zone architecture, and fracture patterns
– Laboratory characterization natural fractures including alteration mineralogy, healing history, porosity (including 3D porosity mapping with high resolution XRay-CT)
– Borehole geophysical analysis of stress, permeability, and rock mechanical properties
– Time series analysis of pumping, seismicity, and deformation records
– Borehole geophysical identification and analysis of flowing fractures
– Analysis of production/injection time series
– Analysis of reservoir deformation accompanying deflation/inflation due to pumping
– Analysis of fault rock and fracture permeability

Recent Publications

– Stress, fracture, and fluid-flow analysis using acoustic and electrical image logs in hot fractured granites of the Coso geothermal field, California, U.S.A., in M. Poppelreiter, C. Garcia-Carballido, and M. Kraaijveld, eds., Dipmeter and borehole image log technology
Davatzes, N.C., and Hickman, S.H.
AAPG Memoir 92, Ch 24., p. 1-35. (2010).