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Numerical modeling of fracture estimation over folded surface

Jeremías Likerman

Stanford University

Understanding the mechanisms by which geological strata are deformed during folding have important consequences for a number of scientific and production activities. Over the last years considerable efforts have been devoted to study and analyze the nature of the physical processes that shape Earth's brittle crust. In this context, fractures play a critical role. Fractures in both hydrocarbon and groundwater aquifers are known to form channels for fluid flow or as pathways to disperse accumulated fluids out of a reservoir. Moreover, fractures not only are a key element on traps for fluids, but also fractured domes and folds are being evaluated as potential reservoirs for excess CO2 storage. The main goal of the present project is to incorporate to our previously developed algorithm, a new variable that would take into account the mechanical thickness of the geological bed in which the fractures are developed. The factors controlling the spacing of fractures are various. However, one of the most determinant is bed thickness. This new variable would enable a better fit to fracture prediction. We will discuss with the research team about the best numerical approach of the algorithm and enrich our knowledge based on their experience. Dr. Aydin’s research group combined computer modeling with natural examples and laboratory experiments, and have extensive experience in programming associated with geology and structural geology. If we succeed on developing the algorithm, we will continue working, in Argentina, adding more variables, such as rheology, which is another first control variable on the fracture development.

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