Geometry of the Nojima Fault at Nojima-Hirabayashi, Japan — I. A Simple Damage Structure Inferred from Borehole Core Permeability

  • David A. Lockner
  • Hidemi Tanaka
  • Hisao Ito
  • Ryuji Ikeda
  • Kentaro Omura
  • Hisanobu Naka
Part of the Pageoph Topical Volumes book series (PTV)


The 1995 Kobe (Hyogo-ken Nanbu) earthquake, M=7.2, ruptured the Nojima fault in southwest Japan. We have studied core samples taken from two scientific drillholes that crossed the fault zone SW of the epicentral region on Awaji Island. The shallower hole, drilled by the Geological Survey of Japan (GSJ), was started 75 m to the SE of the surface trace of the Nojima fault and crossed the fault at a depth of 624 m. A deeper hole, drilled by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) was started 302 m to the SE of the fault and crossed fault strands below a depth of 1140 m. We have measured strength and matrix permeability of core samples taken from these two drillholes. We find a strong correlation between permeability and proximity to the fault zone shear axes. The half-width of the high permeability zone (approximately 15 to 25 m) is in good agreement with the fault zone width inferred from trapped seismic wave analysis and other evidence. The fault zone core or shear axis contains clays with permeabilities of approximately 0.1 to 1 microdarcy at 50 MPa effective confining pressure (10 to 30 microdarcy at in situ pressures). Within a few meters of the fault zone core, the rock is highly fractured but has sustained little net shear. Matrix permeability of this zone is approximately 30 to 60 microdarcy at 50 MPa effective confining pressure (300 to 1000 microdarcy at in situ pressures). Outside this damage zone, matrix permeability drops below 0.01 microdarcy. The clay0rich core material has the lowest strength with a coefficient of friction of approximately 0.55. Shear strength increases with distance from the shear axis. These permeability and strength observations reveal a simple fault zone structure with a relatively weak fine-grained core surrounded by a damage zone of fractured rock. In this case, the damage zone will act as a high-permeability conduit for vertical and horizontal flow in the plane of the fault. The fine-grained core region, however, will impede fluid flow across the fault.

Key words

Nojima fault fault structure permeability strength Kobe earthquake 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Lockner
    • 1
  • Hidemi Tanaka
    • 2
  • Hisao Ito
    • 3
  • Ryuji Ikeda
    • 4
  • Kentaro Omura
    • 5
  • Hisanobu Naka
    • 6
  1. 1.US Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Center for Deep Earth ExplorationJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokohamaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceHokkaido UniversityHokkaidoJapan
  5. 5.National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster PreventionTsukubaJapan
  6. 6.Ehime UniversityMatsuyamaJapan

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