Natural Resources Research

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 395–409 | Cite as

Analysis of Fault Permeability Using Mapping and Flow Modeling, Hickory Sandstone Aquifer, Central Texas



Reservoir compartments, typical targets for infill well locations, are commonly created by faults that may reduce permeability. A narrow fault may consist of a complex assemblage of deformation elements that result in spatially variable and anisotropic permeabilities. We report on the permeability structure of a km-scale fault sampled through drilling a faulted siliciclastic aquifer in central Texas. Probe and whole-core permeabilities, serial CAT scans, and textural and structural data from the selected core samples are used to understand permeability structure of fault zones and develop predictive models of fault zone permeability. Using numerical flow simulation, it is possible to predict permeability anisotropy associated with faults and evaluate the effect of individual deformation elements in the overall permeability tensor. We found relationships between the permeability of the host rock and those of the highly deformed (HD) fault-elements according to the fault throw. The lateral continuity and predictable permeability of the HD fault elements enhance capability for estimating the effects of subseismic faulting on fluid flow in low-shale reservoirs.


Shear zone directional permeability probe permeameter CT 



The authors acknowledge the provision of the samples and the geological framework by the Industrial Associates Program at Texas A&M University used in this study. The authors thank Mr. F. M. Chester for his insights and discussions concerning this research work. The Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society and the BMFFFS project, directed by Heriot-Watt University, provided the partial financial support of this research study. J. Nieto thanks the GCAGS for a student grant. Jerry Jensen holds the Schulich Chair in Geostatistics.


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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DhahranSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Petroleum EngineeringUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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