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Structural controls on fluid flow

Conference Paper · January 2017

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13 authors, including:

Atle Rotevatn Eivind Bastesen


University of Bergen Uni Research AS
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Haakon Fossen Irina Korneva


University of Bergen University of Bergen
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Structural controls on fluid flow

Atle Rotevatn1, Eivind Bastesen2, Vilde Dimmen1, Haakon Fossen1, 3, Rob Gawthorpe1, Gijs Henstra1,
Irina Korneva1, Thomas Kristensen1, Casey Nixon1, Kari Nærland1, David Peacock1, 4, David
Sanderson5, Luisa Zuluaga1.

1Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, Norway


2Uni Research CIPR, Bergen, Norway
3Museum of Natural History, University of Bergen, Norway
4Statoil ASA, Sandsli, Norway
5Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, UK

*email: atle.rotevatn@geo.uib.no

Geological structures (faults and other types of fractures) exert profound controls on
the flow of fluids, and the loci of fluid-rock interactive processes, in the brittle crust. For
example, faults may control the location of ore deposits, hot springs, volcanism, speleothem
deposits, hydrocarbon migration, seal breach, diagenetic reactions, radon gas escape, and
more. Furthermore, faults and other types of fractures are important as conduits for flow in
groundwater, geothermal and hydrocarbon reservoirs, but may also represent a threat of
leakage and environmental contamination from CO2 storage and nuclear waste disposal
sites.
In this talk we review how structures control flow, by considering how connectivity and
preferential flow conduits evolve over time in a growing fault or fracture population. This is
strongly tied to the development of structural complexity, (for example fault intersections and
relay zones), which form natural foci for fluid transport in the brittle crust. We also examine
the physical drivers behind flow localization in time and space. We use examples from
siliciclastic, carbonate and crystalline ‘basement’ lithologies to illustrate the topic.

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