Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1109
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1109
17 Apr 2024
 | 17 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

The effect of stiffness contrasts at faults on stress orientation

Moritz O. Ziegler, Robin Seithel, Thomas Niederhuber, Oliver Heidbach, Thomas Kohl, Birgit Müller, Mojtaba Rajabi, Karsten Reiter, and Luisa Röckel

Abstract. Even though the crustal stress state is primarily driven by gravitational volume forces and plate tectonics, interpretations of borehole breakout observations show occasionally abrupt rotations of horizontal stress orientation of up to 90° when faults are crossed. This indicates the influence of faults on the local stress state, which parameter control the degree of rotation. Herein, we investigate the phenomenon of principal stress rotation at a fault by means of a 2D generic numerical model. We parametrised the fault as a rock stiffness contrast and investigate systematically the full model parameter space in terms of the ratio of the applied principal stresses, the rock stiffness contrast, as well as the angle between fault strike and orientation of the principal stress axis. General findings are that the stress rotation is negatively correlated with the ratio of principal stresses. A small angle between the far field stress orientation and the fault facilitates stress rotation. A high contrast in rock stiffness further increases the stress rotation angle. Faults striking perpendicular to the maximum principal stress orientation experience no rotation at all. However, faults oriented parallel to the maximum principal stress orientation experience either no rotation or a 90° rotation, dependent on the ratio of principal stresses and the rock stiffness contrast. A comparison with observations from various boreholes worldwide shows that in general, the findings are well in agreement, even though the dip angle proves to have an influence on the stress rotation, in particular for shallow dipping faults.

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Moritz O. Ziegler, Robin Seithel, Thomas Niederhuber, Oliver Heidbach, Thomas Kohl, Birgit Müller, Mojtaba Rajabi, Karsten Reiter, and Luisa Röckel

Status: open (until 01 Jun 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1109', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 May 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1109', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 May 2024 reply
Moritz O. Ziegler, Robin Seithel, Thomas Niederhuber, Oliver Heidbach, Thomas Kohl, Birgit Müller, Mojtaba Rajabi, Karsten Reiter, and Luisa Röckel
Moritz O. Ziegler, Robin Seithel, Thomas Niederhuber, Oliver Heidbach, Thomas Kohl, Birgit Müller, Mojtaba Rajabi, Karsten Reiter, and Luisa Röckel

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Short summary
The rotation of the principal stress axes in a fault structure because of a rock stiffness contrast has been investigated for the impact of the ratio of principal stresses, the angle between principal stress axes and fault strike, and the ratio of the rock stiffness contrast. A generic 2D geomechanical model is employed for the systematic investigation of the parameter space.