Chemo‐mechanical behavior of clay‐rich fault gouges affected by CO2‐brine‐rock interactions

Elisenda Bakker, John Kaszuba, Sabine den Hartog, Suzanne Hangx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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The impact of long-term CO2-brine-rock interactions on the frictional properties of faults is one of the main concerns when ensuring safe geological CO2 storage. Mineralogical changes may alter the frictional strength and seismogenic potential of pre-existing faults bounding a storage complex. However, most of these reactions are too slow to be reproduced on laboratory timescales and can only be assessed using geochemical modeling. We combined modeling of CO2-charged formation water and fault gouges (1–1000 years residence time, i.e. 10–106 pore volume flushes) with friction experiments on simulated fault gouges (T = 22–150°C; σneff = 50 MPa; Pf = 25 MPa; V = 0.2-100 μm/s), having mineralogical compositions as predicted by the models. As an analogue for clay-rich caprocks overlying potential CO2 storage sites in Europe, we used the Opalinus claystone. Our experiments showed that, although significant mineralogical changes occurred, they did not significantly change the frictional behavior of faults. Instead, initial fault-gouge mineralogy imposed a stronger control on clay-rich fault behavior than the extent of CO2-brine-rock interactions, even under chemical conditions allowing for significant reaction. We demonstrated that the impact of mineralogical changes due to CO2-brine-rock interactions on the frictional behavior and seismogenic potential of faults could be assessed using our combination of geochemical modeling and friction experiments. Note that a complete understanding requires evaluation of additional effects, such as that of shear velocity, effective normal stress, and other fault characteristics (maturity, shear strain).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalGreenhouse Gases: Science and Technology
Issue number1
Early online date28 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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