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Technical Committee Earth Sciences

Mineral Vein Dynamics Modeling (FRACS) - Phase 1

The Mineral Vein Dynamics Modeling group “FRACS” is a team of 7 research groups from the Universities of Mainz, Aachen, Tübingen, Karlsruhe, Bayreuth, ETH Zürich and Glasgow working on an understanding of the dynamic development of fracturing, fluid flow and fracture sealing. World-class field laboratories, especially carbonate sequences from the Oman Mountains are studied and classified. State of the art numerical programs are written, expanded and used to simulate the dynamic interaction of fracturing, flow and resealing and the results are compared with the natural examples. Newest analytical technologies including laser scanning, high resolution X-ray microtomography, fluid inclusion and isotope analysis are performed to understand and compare the results of simulations with natural examples. A new statistical program was developed to classify the natural fracture and vein systems and compare them with dynamic numerical simulations and analytical models. The results of the first project phase are extremely promising. Most of the numerical models have been developed up to the stage where they can be used to simulate the natural examples. The models allow a definition of the first proxies for high fluid pressure and tectonic stresses. It was found out that the Oman Mountains are a complex and very dynamic system that constantly fractures and reseals from the scale of small veins up to the scale of large normal and strike slip faults. The numerical simulations also indicate that the permeability of such systems is not a constant but that the system adjusts to the driving force, for example high fluid pressure. When the system reseals fast a fluctuating behavior can be observed in the models where the system constantly fractures and reseals, which is in accordance with the observation of the natural laboratory.

D. Koehn, J. Urai, et al.
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