Influence of fluid pressure changes on the reactivation potential of pre-existing fractures: a case study in the Archaean metavolcanics of the Chitradurga region, India

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Research Article

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Geological Magazine


The metavolcanics of Chitradurga region host numerous shallow crustal veins and fractures and faults of multiple orientations. Several high and low Pf cycles have been recorded in the region, leading to the reactivation of most of the pre-existing fractures for high Pf and selective reactivation of some well-oriented fractures under low Pf conditions. The pre-existing anisotropy (magnetic fabric) in the metavolcanics acted as the most prominent planar fabric for fracture propagation and vein emplacement under both conditions, thereby attaining maximum vein thickness. In this study, we emphasize the reactivation propensity of these pre-existing fracture planes under conditions of fluid pressure variation, related to the high and low Pf cycles. Multiple cycles of fluid-induced fracture reactivation make it difficult to quantify the maximum/minimum fluid pressure magnitudes. However, in this study we use the most appropriate fluid pressure magnitudes mathematically feasible for a shallow crustal depth of ∼2.4 km. We determine the changes in the reactivation potential with states of stress for the respective fracture orientations under both high and low Pf conditions. Dependence of fluid pressure variation on the opening angle of the fractures is also monitored. Finally, we comment on the failure mode and deformation behaviour of the fractures within the prevailing stress field inducing volumetric changes at the time of deformation. We find that deformation behaviour is directly related to the dip of the fracture planes.

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Open Access, Hybrid Gold

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