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Characteristics of a fracture network surrounding a hydrothermally altered shear zone from geophysical borehole logs

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Caspari Eva, Greenwood Andrew, Baron Ludovic, Egli Daniel, Toschini Enea, Hu Kaiyan, Holliger Klaus,
Project Exploration and characterization of deep underground reservoirs
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Solid Earth
Volume (Issue) 11(3)
Page(s) 829 - 854
Title of proceedings Solid Earth
DOI 10.5194/se-11-829-2020

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Abstract. Hydrothermally active and altered fault/shear zones in crystalline rocks are of practical importance because of their potential similarities with petrothermal reservoirs and exploitable natural hydrothermal systems. The petrophysical and hydraulic characterization of such structures is therefore of significant interest. Here, we report the results of corresponding investigations on a prominent shear zone of this type located in the crystalline Aar massif of the central Swiss Alps. A shallow borehole was drilled, which acutely intersects the core of the shear zone and is entirely situated in its surrounding damage zone. The focus of this study is a detailed characterization of this damage zone based on geophysical borehole measurements. For this purpose, a comprehensive suite of borehole logs, comprising passive and active nuclear, full-waveform sonic, resistivity, self-potential, optical televiewer, and borehole radar data, was collected. The migrated images of the borehole radar reflection data together with the optical televiewer data reveal a complicated network of intersecting fractures in the damage zone. Consequently, the associated petrophysical properties, notably the sonic velocities and porosities, are distinctly different from intact granitic formations. Cluster analyses of the borehole logs in combination with the structural interpretations of the optical televiewer data illustrate that the variations in the petrophysical properties are predominantly governed by the intense brittle deformation. The imaged fracture network and the high-porosity zones associated with brittle deformation represent the main flow pathways. This interpretation is consistent with the available geophysical measurements as well as the analyses of the retrieved core material. Furthermore, the interpretation of the self-potential and fluid resistivity log data suggests a compartmentalized hydraulic behavior, as evidenced by inflows of water into the borehole from different sources, which is likely to be governed by the steeply dipping structures.