Overlapping faults and their effect on fluid flow in different reservoir types: a LIDAR-based outcrop modeling and flow simulation study

A. Rotevatn, S. J. Buckley, J. A. Howell, H. Fossen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we focus on the potential of fault-overlap zones as conduits for fluid flow in a variety of reservoir types. Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology were applied to collect a three-dimensional, spatially constrained data set from a well-exposed fault-overlap zone that crops out in the Devil's Lane area of the Canyonlands National Park in Utah. A virtual outcrop was generated and used to extract structural and stratigraphic data that were taken into a reservoir modeling software and reconstructed. The outcrop-based model was flow simulated and used to test fluid flow through a real-world faultoverlap zone. A structural framework was built based on collected outcrop data and combined with a series of nine different fades models. The different fades models included an eolian model based on the outcrop and a range of synthetic fluvial and shallow marine systems. Results show that, for certain depositional models, cross-fault reservoir communication may be poor despite the geometric connectivity of the relay beds. This was the case for low net/gross fluvial models and shoreface models. Conversely, high net/gross fluvial systems and eolian systems show good communication through the same relay zone. Overall, the results show that, in the presence of a fault-overlap zone, pressure communication across a relay ramp may still be poor depending on the scale of the faults and relay ramp as well as the geometry and volume of the sands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-427
Number of pages21
JournalAAPG Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


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