GEOLOGIC CHARACTERIZATION OF A DRILLCORE ANALOG FOR AREAS WITH INJECTION-INDUCED SEISMICITY
We characterize the degree of fluid-rock interactions observed to infer how high-pressure injection may influence fluid migration across the nonconformity interface. We use a drillcore analog from SE Minnesota representative of subsurface geology within the midcontinent region. The major goals of this research are to: 1) examine the spatial distribution of structural features, mineralogy, and alteration in the drillcore using petrography, whole-rock X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence analyses; and 2) provide a comparative set of detailed rock properties and lab permeability measurements that can be directly correlated to microscale textural variations.
The drillcore samples display a variety of mineralogical alteration ranging from ~6 m above to ~ 95 m below the nonconformity contact. Intensity of alteration is strongest closest to the contact and permeability is highly variable to ~60 m below the contact. Fractures and slip surfaces occur parallel and at high-angles to basement foliation fabric and exhibit significant porosity or clay alteration. Vein textures and mineralogical compositions suggest complicated deformation and fluid-rock interaction histories within the crystalline basement rock. These observations support past research on nonconformity interface analogs and suggest: 1) alteration should be modeled as a separate hydro-lithologic unit and not assumed to be homogenous or impermeable; and 2) pre-existing faults, fractures, and vein systems are potentially more susceptible to alteration and may lead to fault zone weakening and reactivation.