Hydrofracturing is a routine industrial technique whose safety depends on fractures remaining confined within the target rock volume. Both observations and theoretical models show that, if the fluid volume is larger than a critical value, pockets of fluid can propagate large distances in the Earth's crust in a self-sustained, uncontrolled manner. Existing models for such critical volumes are unsatisfactory; most are two-dimensional and depend on poorly constrained parameters (typically the fracture length). Here we derive both analytically and numerically in three-dimensional scale-independent critical volumes as a function of only rock and fluid properties. We apply our model to gas, water, and magma injections in laboratory, industrial, and natural settings, showing that our critical volumes are consistent with observations and can be used as conservative estimates. We discuss competing mechanisms promoting fracture arrest, whose quantitative study could help to assess more comprehensively the safety of hydrofracturing operations.

Critical Fluid Injection Volumes for Uncontrolled Fracture Ascent

Rivalta E.;
2020

Abstract

Hydrofracturing is a routine industrial technique whose safety depends on fractures remaining confined within the target rock volume. Both observations and theoretical models show that, if the fluid volume is larger than a critical value, pockets of fluid can propagate large distances in the Earth's crust in a self-sustained, uncontrolled manner. Existing models for such critical volumes are unsatisfactory; most are two-dimensional and depend on poorly constrained parameters (typically the fracture length). Here we derive both analytically and numerically in three-dimensional scale-independent critical volumes as a function of only rock and fluid properties. We apply our model to gas, water, and magma injections in laboratory, industrial, and natural settings, showing that our critical volumes are consistent with observations and can be used as conservative estimates. We discuss competing mechanisms promoting fracture arrest, whose quantitative study could help to assess more comprehensively the safety of hydrofracturing operations.
Davis T.; Rivalta E.; Dahm T.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
50-GRL_2020_DavisEtAl.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipo: Versione (PDF) editoriale
Licenza: Licenza per Accesso Aperto. Creative Commons Attribuzione (CCBY)
Dimensione 2.11 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.11 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
50-GRL_2020_DavisEtAl_SupplInfo.pdf

accesso aperto

Descrizione: Supplementary Information
Tipo: File Supplementare
Licenza: Licenza per Accesso Aperto. Creative Commons Attribuzione (CCBY)
Dimensione 97.07 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
97.07 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
50-GRL_2020_DavisEtAl_SupplData.txt

accesso aperto

Descrizione: Supplementary Data
Tipo: File Supplementare
Licenza: Licenza per Accesso Aperto. Creative Commons Attribuzione (CCBY)
Dimensione 41.21 kB
Formato Text
41.21 kB Text Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/775163
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 4
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 4
social impact