Date of Award:

5-2019

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Geology

Advisor/Chair:

James P. Evans

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Peter S. Mozley

Third Advisor:

Elizabeth S. Petrie

Abstract

We examined small-displacement faults in the Jurassic Entrada Sandstone adjacent to the Iron Wash Fault, central Utah east of the San Rafael Swell, in order to describe the nature and timing of past fluid movement and deformation in the Entrada Sandstone. Using field studies, microscopy, and X-ray diffraction analysis, we identified mineralized fractures and cementation features in association with deformation bands and fractures at the interface of the Earthy and Slick Rock Members of the Entrada Sandstone.

Where the faults cross the Earthy-Slick Rock Member interface, deformation band faults in the Slick Rock Member become opening-mode fractures in the Earthy Member. These fractures are frequently mineralized with calcite, and goethite pseudomorphs after pyrite, providing evidence of at least two phases of fluid flow from the Entrada reservoir into the caprock in connection with deformation bands. We also observe mineralized fractures, poikilotopic cementation, and spherical to elongate concretions on and within deformation band fins in the Slick Rock Member. These features indicate the presence and movement of fluids parallel to and between deformation band fins.

At some sites, deformation band faults and fractures cross and offset the interface; at others, they are present in both units, but deformation band faults do not cross the interface and fractures are not directly connected to any bands. Mineralized fractures are only found at breached-interface sites; evidence for fluid flow in the Slick Rock Member is only found in deformation band fins. Interface crossing and fracture formation is not related to proximity to the Iron Wash Fault.

We propose that mesoscale faults can act as seal bypass systems and allow fluid leakage from reservoir rock into overlying less permeable rocks. Deformation bands act as both conduits for and barriers to flow, seen most clearly in deformation band fins where iron staining and mineralization is constrained between sets of bands within the fin. In CO2 or wastewater injection scenarios, interface deformation may prevent successful fluid trapping and cause re-emission of injected fluids.

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Geology Commons

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