Friction-permeability relationships for reservoir caprocks

Y. Fang, C. Wang, D. Elsworth, T. Ishibashi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


There is wide concern that pressurized CO2 fluid has a potential to induce seismicity in the impermeable caprocks that overlie CO2 injection formations. However, the possible impact of induced seismicity on sustainable CO2 containment from geological CO2 sequestration remains unclear because the earthquakes play a significant but mysterious role in influencing the integrity of the caprocks by hypothesized interrelated friction-permeability interaction processes: (1) the earthquakes may occur seismically (i.e., frictionally unstable), enhancing the permeability of faults instantly and leading to potential breaching and loss of inventory; or (2) the earthquakes may occur aseismically (i.e., frictionally stable), closing the aperture of faults and reducing permeability through creep. In this study, we explore these processes through experiments in which we measure the frictional parameters and hydraulic properties using Green River shale sample as an analogue caprock candidate. We observe that fracture permeability declines during shearing while the increased sliding velocity reduces the rate of decline. The physics of these observed behaviors are explored via parametric study and surface measurement of fractures, showing that both permeability and frictional strength are correlated to the fracture asperity evolution that is controlled by the sliding velocity and fracture material. Through the velocity step, the velocity strengthening behavior is observed for Green River shale, suggesting that for Green River shale, only aseismic slip would occur at a low sliding velocity during which the permeability would decrease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication50th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2016
PublisherAmerican Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781510828025
StatePublished - 2016
Event50th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2016 - Houston, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016

Publication series

Name50th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2016


Other50th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics


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