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Hydromechanical insight of fracture opening and closure during in-situ hydraulic fracturing in crystalline rock

Abstract : Six hydraulic fracturing (HF) experiments were conducted in situ at the Grimsel Test Site (GTS), Switzerland, using two boreholes drilled in sparsely fractured crystalline rock. High spatial and temporal resolution monitoring of fracture fluid pressure and strain improve our understanding of fracturing dynamics during and directly following high-pressure fluid injection. In three out of the six experiments, a shear-thinning fluid with an initial static viscosity approximately 30 times higher than water was used to understand the importance of fracture leak-off better. Diagnostic analyses of the shut-in phases were used to determine the minimum principal stress magnitude for the fracture closure cycles, yielding an estimate of the effective instantaneous shut-in pressure (effective ISIP) 4.490.22 MPa. The jacking pressure of the hydraulic fracture was measured during the pressure-controlled step-test. A new method was developed using the uniaxial Fibre-Bragg Grating strain signals to estimate the jacking pressure, which agrees with the traditional flow versus pressure method. The technique has the advantage of observing the behavior of natural fractures next to the injection interval. The experiments can be divided into two groups depending on the injection location (i.e., South or North to a brittle-ductile S3 shear zone). The experiments executed South of this zone have a jacking pressure above the effective ISIP. The proximity to the S3 shear zone and the complex geological structure led to near-wellbore tortuosity and heterogeneous stress effects masking the jacking pressure. In comparison, the experiments North of the S3 shear zone has a jacking pressure below the effective ISIP. This is an effect related to shear dislocation and fracture opening. Both processes can occur almost synchronously and provide new insights into the complicated mixed-mode deformation processes triggered by high-pressure injection.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 9:47:02 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 2:48:17 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 6:49:38 PM


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Nathan Dutler, Benoît Valley, Valentin Gischig, Mohammadreza Jalali, Bernard Brixel, et al.. Hydromechanical insight of fracture opening and closure during in-situ hydraulic fracturing in crystalline rock. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, Pergamon and Elsevier, 2020, 135, pp.104450. ⟨10.1016/j.ijrmms.2020.104450⟩. ⟨insu-02957353⟩



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