Geomechanics modelling

We are investigating geomechanical problems in the presence of fractures and faults. We suppose that the physical model consists of two parts: the solid component representing the crust porous material, and the fluid component that represents water and, eventually, oil and/or gas. The solid model is then augmented taking into account the faults, which are, in fact, discontinuities in the volume of rock.

In the last decades, different numerical methods have been employed to describe the state of stress near a fault discontinuity in geomechanical models. The main goals of these methods are to assess the stress build-up and stress release near faults when the pore pressure is perturbed. In particular, we focus on the following challenges:

  1. the numerical description of the faults as discontinuity surfaces, and the numerical techniques aiming to embed the fault models into the solid equation;
  2. the numerical coupling between the heterogeneous fluid system and porous material equation of the solid component.

Displacement field of a fault embedded in a crustal block.

Displacement and slip of a fault embedded in a crustal block (detail). Note the thrust fault motion (Hanging-wall moves up with respect to footwall).

Slip along the thrust fault.