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Relationships between Fracture Patterns, Geodynamics and Mechanical Stratigraphy in Carbonates (South-East Basin, France)

Juliette Lamarche¹, Arthur P. C. Lavenu¹,², Bertrand D. M. Gauthier³, and Yves Guglielmi¹
¹Cerege, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France
²TOTAL SA., CSTJF, Pau Cedex, France
³Total EP, Paris-La Défense Cedex, France

We aim at improving the understanding of fracture genesis in layered carbonate sedimentary sequences, focusing on field analysis of Jurassic to Maastrichtian age carbonates of Provence (France). Fracture patterns of 9 outcrops were characterized in 3D: 6 of Urgonian, 1 of Tithonian and 2 of Campanian-Late Maastrichtian ages. Seven sites are located in relatively weakly deformed areas away from larges fault and fold zones where strain partitioning and stress localization effects may take place. Two sites are located in fold flanks for the purpose of relative dating and for comparison with the sites in the weakly deformed areas. Patterns and detailed fracture attributes were compared to host rock sedimentary facies, porosity and P-wave velocities. Fracture chronology was determined with cross-cutting relationships and compared to burial/uplift history reconstructed from subsidence curves and from a regional structural analysis.

Our results show that fractures are clustered in two perpendicular joint sets whatever the host rock age. We observe an average spacing of 20cm and no control of strike, age, facies, or bed thickness on fracture size. There is no mechanical stratigraphy. The fracture sequence compared to subsidence curves indicates that fractures occurred before tectonic inversion, during early and rapid burial, whatever the host rock age and facies. The abundance of burial stylolites does not correlate with maximum burial depth but with fracture frequency, host rock porosity and P-wave velocity.

We conclude that the studied carbonates had early brittle properties controlled by their geographic position rather than by depositional facies types and undergone early diagenesis. The porosity loss/gain and the mechanical differentiation in carbonates of Provence could have been acquired during very early burial and diagenesis and have preserved through time.

This study also demonstrates that regional fracturing is not necessarily driven by large scale structural events as it is often assumed in fractured reservoir modeling.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #120034©2012 AAPG Hedberg Conference Fundamental Controls on Flow in Carbonates, Saint-Cyr Sur Mer, Provence, France, July 8-13, 2012