What is it about?

The scale dependence of permeability of naturally fractured rocks has received a lot of attention during last few decades. We have investigated the new approach to study such effect for different rock samples mapped in outcrops. We considered plausible fracture aperture patterns at in situ stress states with the Barton and Bandis model. We also introduced first maps of fracture-matrix ensemble permeability tensors juxtaposed on fracture patterns highlighting strong anisotropy at km-scale.

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Why is it important?

The results showed that the full tensor representation of permeability is essential for modeling flow through fractured rock at the continuum scale. Despite the strong anisotropy and significant spatial variation with scale, the variation of the permeability appears to decrease with increasing sample size, until a scale threshold is reached above which the permeability stays constant.

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This page is a summary of: Is the permeability of naturally fractured rocks scale dependent?, Water Resources Research, September 2017, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/2016wr019764.
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