Thermally driven fracture aperture variation in naturally fractured granites
Grimm Lima, Marina
Saar, Martin O.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Temperature variations often trigger coupled thermal, hydrological, mechanical, and chemical (THMC) processes that can significantly alter the permeability/impedance of fracture-dominated deep geological reservoirs. It is thus necessary to quantitatively explore the associated phenomena during fracture opening and closure as a result of temperature change. In this work, we report near-field experimental results of the effect of temperature on the hydraulic properties of natural fractures under stressed conditions (effective normal stresses of 5–25 MPa). Two specimens of naturally fractured granodiorite cores from the Grimsel Test Site in Switzerland were subjected to flow-through experiments with a temperature variation of 25–140 °C to characterize the evolution of fracture aperture/permeability. The fracture surfaces of the studied specimens were morphologically characterized using photogrammetry scanning. Periodic measurements of the efflux of dissolved minerals yield the net removal mass, which is correlated to the inferred rates of fracture closure. Changes measured in hydraulic aperture are significant, exhibiting reductions of 20–75% over the heating/cooling cycles. Under higher confining stresses, the effects in fracture permeability are irreversible and notably time-dependent. Thermally driven fracture aperture variation was more pronounced in the specimen with the largest mean aperture width and spatial correlation length. Gradual fracture compaction is likely controlled by thermal dilation, mechanical grinding, and pressure dissolution due to increased thermal stresses exerted over the contacting asperities, as confirmed by the analyses of hydraulic properties and efflux mass. Show more
Journal / seriesGeothermal Energy
Pages / Article No.
SubjectGeothermal energy; Rough fracture; Fracture aperture evolution; Thermo‑hydro‑mechanical‑chemical (THMC) effects; Pressure dissolution; Fracture flow; Fractured reservoirs
Organisational unit03512 - Günther, Detlef / Günther, Detlef
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