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Compartmentalisation of fluid migration pathways in the sub-Andean Zone, Bolivia

Abstract : Numerous observations indicate that faults play a major role on the migration pathways of fluids in the Bolivian sub-Andean Zone. Most oil seeps in the foothills are located on faults, but oil fields in the foredeep are closed by faults. In the foothills, analysis of cements in fractures inside and around fault zones indicates that the faults act as barriers for transversal migration but can be preferential lateral migration pathways for both hydrocarbons and water. A detailed study of these apparent contradictions suggests that the hydraulic behaviour of faults changes with depth in relation with sandstone diagenesis, but it is strain-independent. From microstructural analyses of fault zones, we suggest that the main controlling factor is temperature, which facilitates or inhibits quartz precipitation. This result implies that the same fault is a barrier for lateral and transversal migration at depths >3 km, due to sealing of fractures by authigenic quartz at T>80 °C, and is a lateral drain in its shallower parts. As a result, the various thrust sheets are isolated from a hydraulic point of view, whereas migration in the foreland may take place over long distances (>100 km).
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Submitted on : Saturday, March 12, 2022 - 5:41:51 PM
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Isabelle Moretti, Pierre Labaume, Simon M. F. Sheppard, Jacques Boulègue. Compartmentalisation of fluid migration pathways in the sub-Andean Zone, Bolivia. Tectonophysics, 2002, 348, pp.5-24. ⟨10.1016/S0040-1951(01)00246-3⟩. ⟨insu-03607075⟩



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