Fracture characterization in magmatic rock, a case study of the Sosa-dyke (Neuquén Basin, Argentina)

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: There are many examples worldwide were fossil magmatic intrusions influence the local water and energy supply. Due to that intrusions can act as a conductor and a reservoir, but also as a barrier for fluids and gases in the ground. The decisive feature between conductor or barrier in an intrusion is its fracture network. Hence it is of paramount importance to characterize an intrusion’s fracture network and thus its permeability. However, other than through boreholes magmatic intrusions are rather inaccessible and very little is known about their influence on aquifers and reservoir rocks in the underground. It is therefore important to increase the knowledge of magmatic intrusion by investigate the intrusions that are accessible for us at ground surface. In this study, photos from a case study about the Sosa dyke have been used to map and characterizes the fractures of the Sosa dyke, which is an accessible vertical magmatic intrusion and a part of the Chachahuén volcano complex in the southwestern parts of Argentina. The photos that were used are taken with an UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), and to analyze the photos, map the fractures and produce the results, software as Agisoft Metashape, MOVE™ and MATLAB with the toolbox FracPaQ was used. The intrusion has two distinct fracture sets, one that is perpendicular to the intrusion margins and one that stretches parallel with the intrusion. The connectivity of the fractures is low, and since the permeability of the fractures largely depends on the connectivity, it is also low. The fracture set that is perpendicular to the intrusion margin is what’s called cooling fractures, which is created as the magma in the intrusion cools. This causes the magma to contract and break, forming fractures perpendicular to the inward migrating solidification front. The fracture set that is parallel with the intrusion is caused by minerals in the magma flow being affected by friction from the intrusion margins. This causes the minerals in the magma to elongate in the direction of flow along the sides of the dyke, creating foliation, enabling fractures to propagate along. These fracture sets are poorly connected which concludes that the mapped area of the Sosa-dyke has a low permeability.

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