Project title: The impact of fault geometry on predictions of fault reactivation
Researcher: Dr Janis Aleksans
Inactive, ancient faults are widespread and remain as weaknesses within the crust that can be reactivated if subject to sufficiently high stresses. Sufficient stresses can be caused by large-scale anthropogenic activities including mining, tunnelling, deep geothermal and carbon sequestration (CCS) projects, with sometimes catastrophic results.
Currently, fault reactivation risk evaluation is based on ideas of the frictional strength of the rock and local fault orientation. Current practice however, does not account for the often complex geometries of faults in 3D that may cause faults to have unexpected responses to stress perturbations.
This project will perform numerical modelling to investigate how complex 3D fault surface geometry affects fault reactivation and will test the limitations of current methods for estimating the likelihood of fault reactivation in response to a change in applied stress.